April 25, 2014
3:10 am

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Woman sues LaSalle County over allegedly illegal strip search

Chicago -- LaSalle County authorities aren’t commenting yet on a lawsuit filed by a 32-year old Coal City woman who says she was dragged around by sheriff’s deputies, stripped naked, and left unclothed in a jail cell back in May. A Marseilles police officer arrested Dana Holmes on a drunk driving charge on May 18. She says that even though she could post bond, the officer took her to the LaSalle County jail. She’d also been charged with speeding and illegal transportation of alcohol.
     Holmes claims in her lawsuit, in the early morning hours of the 19th, three male officers and a female officer at the county jail forced her to the floor, removed her clothes, searched her, and left her naked until they threw a blanket on her a minute later. Holmes says they had no reason to believe she was hiding anything illegal on her body.
     Attorney Terry Ekl provided a Chicago TV station a jail surveillance video that he says shows Ekl being searched by one officer, then dragged to the floor by several officers when she moved her leg during the search. In the video, the officers proceed to remove the woman’s clothes.
     A federal lawsuit filed Monday asks for more than $100,000 in damages. Holmes is accusing the officers of violating her right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizure and for letting each other violate her rights. The case is assigned to Judge Robert Gettleman. He hasn’t set any court dates yet.
     Sheriff Tom Templeton said Tuesday, he hadn’t seen the lawsuit. He referred questions to the State’s Attorney’s Office. WCMY hasn’t heard back from State’s Attorney Brian Towne as of yet.
     As for the DUI and other charges, Holmes went to court on August 28. LaSalle County Judge Daniel Bute gave her court supervision. If she has no further trouble in criminal or traffic court, gets alcoholism treatment, and pays a fine, her experience will not count as a conviction.

Correction: an earlier version of this story said Holmes claimed she'd been left naked in a cell for an hour, rather than a minute.
Filed Under :
Topics : Law_Crime
Location : ChicagoLasalle County
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