October 4th, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Dana Holmes, 33, filed a federal lawsuit against LaSalle County “after a video from the county jail’s security system showed her face down on the floor of her cell stripped nude,” according to CBS Local News. Holmes was brought to the county jail after being arrested for DUI in May. She had a blood alcohol level at the time of arrest three times the legal limit, which is .08. Her lawsuit, filed at the beginning of October, “claims the video also shows four deputies, three men and woman, pulling her to the floor, carrying her into a cell where they quickly and with great force stripped Holmes and walked out with her clothing,” according to CBS.
The lawsuit is being brought against the county because Holmes sees no reason for being stripped. Illinois state law clearly states, according to CBS, that “police can only do strip searches if they have reason to believe suspects have weapons or a controlled substance.” While Holmes was driving impaired, she was not found to be in possession of either weapons or substances. The law also states that only a person of the same sex can perform strip searches if deemed necessary, which was not the case in Holmes’s incident. The video that Holmes’s attorney provided to CBS “shows Holmes rocking a bit, but it is hard to detect any violence,” the station reports. Yet the video is clear that all four deputies were responsible for carrying the intoxicated woman into a padded cell and stripped her naked of all her clothes, including her underwear.
It’s not just Illinois state law that prevents law enforcement agents from performing unauthorized strip searches. According to the AELE Law Enforcement Legal Center, the basis for most law suits involving illegitimate strip searches is the Civil Rights Act of 1871. “Through this statute, a plaintiff claims the search violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free form ‘unreasonable’ searches,” reports AELE. When CBS attempted to contact the LaSalle County Sheriff for comment, the office replied that it could not give any input since the lawsuit had been filed.