Club 907 Raid Brings Immigration Outcry
Police line the front of Club 907 on Friday night during an operation that resulted in 88 arrests.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — LAPD's 88 arrests at a Downtown hostess club last week have triggered an outcry from immigration advocates who feel that the department violated its policies on checking legal status.
The Club 907 operation, executed on the night of November 5, was the result of a nearly four month investigation into the club's workings. According to a statement issued by the department on Wednesday, the search warrant was issued after a check of permit conditions found evidence of violations and criminal activity, including counterfeit documentation, the possible employment of a missing 17-year-old, lewd acts, overcrowding and illegal alcohol service.
When officers finally cleared the scene Saturday morning, 81 of the club's female employees were under arrest, charged with the use of counterfeit identification for the purposes of employment.
“LAPD’s ill-advised decision to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials has turned a local criminal and labor violations investigation into a chimera with devastating consequences for most of the women arrested that night," said the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in a release today.
"Although not one of the 80 women arrested by LAPD has been charged with lewd conduct, prostitution, or drug possession, thirty-six of them remain in ICE custody and another fifty-two face uncertain futures with immigration court appointments."
It was no secret at the scene of the operation on Friday night that there were undocumented girls working in the club. Asked what police were doing inside, one patron standing in the parking lot across from the club noted in Spanish that many of the girls inside lacked papers.
CHIRLA says LAPD should have had a better plan for how to assist the girls working in the club, who the group alleges were exploited by the club owner.
Club 907 has operated at the site since April of 1987. It has a capacity of 250, but more than 400 patrons were found inside at the time of the raid. According to LAPD's release, officers also seized two bags of cocaine powder, over $100,000 in cash, condoms, and liquor.