Lawsuit filed after woman strip-searched

Published 10/03 2013 01:49PM

Updated 10/11 2013 01:16PM

Update: 5:21 pm, 10/10/13, Thursday
LASALLE COUNTY -- More women have come forward saying their rights were violated at an Illinois jail. Last week, Dana Holmes reported being inappropriately strip-searched at the LaSalle County Jail and claimed to have surveillance video to prove it.

She's suing. Her lawyer argues deputies violated Holmes' civil rights and broke the law.

Five other women have since come forward with similar claims. The law requires same sex officers to conduct strip searches in isolation and only if they believe a suspect could be concealing drugs or weapons.
Original: 1:49 pm, 10/3/13, Thursday
LASALLE COUNTY -- A woman claims she was degraded and mistreated by personnel at a sheriff's department. She says she has proof on videotape and is now suing. John Garcia has the story.

Four sheriff's officers carry 32-year old Dana Holmes into a LaSalle County jail cell. The three men and one woman put her face down on the floor and proceed to strip off her clothes. It's all captured on a security camera in a corner of the padded cell.

"I was terrified. I felt helpless. I was scared and I lay there crying. I just prayed."

Holmes, from Coal City, was in LaSalle County for a wedding and earlier, was stopped for DUI by Marseilles police. They reportedly found her almost three times over the legal limit.

But the problems began after she arrived at the county jail. While patting her down, she can be seen moving her leg slightly. That's when officers surrounded her and pinned her to the ground before carrying her by her arms and legs into the jail cell.

Her attorney has filed a lawsuit against the sheriff, the officers and the county, alleging the officers intentionally and gratuitously humiliated, degraded and dehumanized Holmes.

Terry Ekl says, under statute, only an officer of the same gender is allowed to strip search an inmate after getting permission from a supervisor and only in a secluded area.

"These are on-duty deputy sheriff's humiliating and groping a female inmate. It makes you wonder, you know, were these guys ever trained?"

Holmes says she was cooperative and never argued with the officers.

"What do you hope comes from this lawsuit?"

"I hope they lose their jobs. No one should be treated that way."

The LaSalle County Sheriff's Department declined to comment on the incident since it's an ongoing case.

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