A 32-year-old Illinois woman filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that LaSalle County officers illegally strip-searched her and left her nude in a jail cell.
According to ABC Chicago, Dana Holmes was arrested in May on a DUI charge and brought into a county jail where a security camera captured four sheriff’s officers — three men and one women — stripping off her clothes before leaving her naked and alone in the padded cell.
Attorney Terry Ekl says Holmes was dehumanized and degraded by the strip-search, which he pointed out violated a state law that requires strip-searches to only be performed when officers have a “reasonable belief” an individual is concealing a weapon or controlled substance somewhere on their body. Strip-searches also must be done by officers of the same sex only in an area where they can’t be watched by others not participating in the search, according to the law.
“These are on-duty deputy sheriffs humiliating and groping a female inmate. It makes you wonder, were these guys ever trained?” Ekl asked, according to ABC.
Holmes, whose blood-alcohol level reportedly registered almost three times the legal limit, was “being mouthy and causing problems,” according to a police report obtained by the Chicago Tribune but Len Cavise, a criminal procedure expert who teaches at the DePaul University College of Law, pointed out to the paper that “nothing in the statute says resisting arrest is justification for a strip-search.”
Holmes, who pleaded guilty to DUI in July and received a probation sentence, is hoping the officers involved will be punished for how they treated her.
“There was no excuse or anything to give them a reason to put their hands on me,” she told the Tribune.