Woman Claims She Was Forcibly Strip-Searched by Police
(CHICAGO) -- An Illinois woman filed a federal lawsuit against police Monday claiming she was forcibly strip-searched and left naked for two minutes following an arrest for driving under the influence. Dana Holmes, 33, alleged that LaSalle County police officers strip-searched her without legal justification and left her naked in a padded cell. "I hope they lose their jobs. No one should be treated that way," Holmes told ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago.
The incident unfolded when Holmes was pulled over by police in Marseilles for speeding on May 18. She allegedly told police she'd been at a wedding with her boyfriend, and he was too drunk to drive home. Holmes, according to police, had a blood alcohol level about three times the legal limit.
Holmes was transported to LaSalle County police station where security cameras captured a female deputy patting her down with male deputies standing by. During the pat down, Holmes can be seen on video lifting her leg. That's when the officers surrounded her and pinned her to the ground.
"I was terrified. I felt helpless," Holmes said.
Moments later, deputies carried Holmes into a padded room and put her face down on the floor. Three male deputies and the female deputy proceeded to remove all her clothing, leaving her naked for two minutes until an officer tossed Holmes some blankets.
"I was scared and I lay there crying," Holmes recounted.
Officers allege Holmes tried to kick them during the pat down, according to the incident report.
Illinois law says officers can only conduct a strip search when there is "reasonable belief" that a suspect has a weapon or drugs. The law also states that an individual can only be searched by deputies of the "same sex" and that it "cannot be observed" by anyone not physically conducting the search.
LaSalle County police has no comment regarding Holmes' allegations and the lawsuit.
"These were on duty deputy sheriffs humiliating and groping a female inmate. It makes you wonder were these guys ever trained?" Holmes' attorney, Terry Ekl, said.
Holmes says her civil rights were violated, and she wants justice for the humiliation she suffered.
Holmes has since pleaded guilty to the DUI charge and received probation.
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