Herrera Wins Court Order Closing Violence-Plagued ‘Pink Diamonds’ Club

Site of June slaying to be shuttered for one year, with operators ordered to pay $688,500 in civil penalties plus costs

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 28, 2009) — A San Francisco Superior Court this morning ordered the year-long closure of the Pink Diamonds nightclub, where a defiant pattern of lawlessness in the months following a stipulated injunction from earlier this year culminated in a brutal slaying on June 27, 2009. The order by Judge Peter J. Busch comes in response to City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s motion last month to shutter the notorious adult entertainment venue at 220 Jones Street, which required more than 230 service calls by the San Francisco Police Department in the previous six months alone, according to the City’s petition. Illegality detailed from Herrera’s investigation and in accompanying police declarations included illicit drug sales, prostitution, extended hours permit violations, illegal alcohol consumption, noise nuisance violations, and repeated episodes of violence and disturbances of the peace in the surrounding neighborhood, which includes nearby senior housing.

“I am gratified that Judge Busch clearly recognized the significant threat to public safety Pink Diamonds posed,” Herrera said. “I hope this closure and penalties award sends a forceful message that no neighborhood in San Francisco needs to tolerate such callous disregard for the law and for residents. Today’s court order assures that Pink Diamonds remains shut down for one year, and that its voluntary closure doesn’t become a voluntary reopening in the days to come.”

Recent news accounts have indicated that the embattled club recently closed its doors voluntarily, though it was under no legal obligation to do so, and it faced no legal impediment to reopening. The court order issued today assures that the club is legally prohibited from reopening for a period of one year. In addition to the closure order, the court granted Herrera’s request for significant civil penalties and sanctions under the terms of the March 29, 2009 injunction that was subsequently flouted by its signatory, Damone H. Smith. Penalties and sanctions obtained by Herrera for willful violations of the court order include $688,500 in civil penalties under the California Unfair Competition Law; and as-yet undetermined reimbursements for attorneys’ fees and costs; and for costs to the San Francisco Police Department to respond to calls for service related to the club’s operation under the injunction. The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Damone H. Smith et al., San Francisco Superior Court case no. 484-055, filed Jan. 12, 2009.