Friday, November 8, 2013
Illinois county faces class-action suit for jail's allegedly illegal strip-search policy
Last month, CRL&P noted this story about a woman who had been forcibly strip-searched by four prison gaurds in LaSalle County, Illinois. The woman filed a lawsuit alleging that the forcible search violated her civil rights and Illinois law. She claimed that the guards did not have "reasonable belief" that she possessed contraband or weapons as required in Illinois; and, she alleged that three male guards participated in the search in violation of Illinois' law requiring strip-searches to be performed by guards of the same sex as the arrestee (a claim supported by surveillance video of the incident).
The woman's attorney has since filed a separate class-action suit against LaSalle County, the sheriff, and several sheriff's officers. According to The Chicago Tribune, "The class-action suit against LaSalle County...claims the four named plaintiffs...were either forcibly stripped or made to take their clothes off and then made to stay in cells without bathrooms for several hours. There, they were ordered to urinate and defecate in a drain on the floor of the cell, and in some of the cases not given toilet paper, the suit claims."
The Tribune also reports:
The new lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims that in addition to forcibly stripping three female arrestees and one man brought to the jail in a civil matter, the four were forced to stay in their cells for several hours without access to a bathroom.
The suit also claims one of the women was denied medication for diabetes and denied food she was capable of eating based on her medical condition.
"This abusive and humiliating treatment has been, and continues to be, a regular and common practice in the LaSalle County Jail as a means of illegally punishing arrestees," the lawsuit reads.
LaSalle County officials could not be reached Thursday night for comment but previously said that County Jail guards did nothing wrong in the incident involving Holmes.