LaSalle County deputies accused of unlawfully strip searching more women

A federal judge Tuesday approved an attorney’s request to bar LaSalle County authorities from destroying potential video evidence of jailhouse strip searches.

The ruling came amid word that more women are claiming they were forcibly strip searched by LaSalle County Deputies.

Attorney Terry Ekl says a handful of women contacted his office with similar accounts after Dana Holmes filed a lawsuit against the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Department. Ekl is on the legal team representing Holmes.

Attorney’s representing Dana Holmes provided surveillance footage to the Chicago Tribune last week.

Ekl says Holmes is seen in the recording being wrestled to the floor at the LaSalle County jail after a DUI arrest last May.

She was then taken to a cell where three male deputies and a female deputy forcibly removed her clothes and undergarments. She was forced to sit naked inside the cell until she was provided with blankets.

The officers’ report says Holmes resisted during a pat-down search.

Holmes` lawsuit contends the LaSalle County Sheriff failed to train officers on State detainment procedures. She also claims the strip search violated state laws.

She says the sheriff’s department and its deputies violated her civil rights, resulting in emotional harm.

Illinois law requires strip searches to be conducted if officers have reasonable belief that a suspect is hiding a weapon or drugs on their body. The law also requires strip searches to be conducted by an officer of the same sex as the subject and the procedure cannot be viewed by people who are not conducting the search.

Ekl says the women who have contacted him claim they were also strip searched by male officers while being detained on misdemeanor charges. He has not revealed the number of women or their identities.

Ekl  seeks to have LaSalle County preserve all video recordings  from the LaSalle County jail. That includes footage from the booking area, intake area and jail cells.

LaSalle County’s Sheriff’s department has not commented on the protective order or the latest accusations.

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