Woman sues police over DUI strip search

By WEEK Producer

Woman sues police over DUI strip search

October 2, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 10:58 AM CDT

LASALLE COUNTY, Ill. -- An Illinois woman is suing LaSalle County after jail security cameras captured four sheriff's deputies forcibly stripping her and leaving her naked on a floor of a jail cell.

Dana Holmes, 33, was arrested for drunk driving back in May with a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit.

Holmes' attorney said video of her inside a LaSalle County Jail cell captures the moment when her DUI arrest went too far.

"We find the conduct outrageous. It violates state law,” said Attorney Terry Ekl.

In the video, four LaSalle County Sheriff's Officers throw Holmes to the ground, strip off her clothes and leave her naked, drunk and afraid.

"As Dana says, she was crying, emotional as she lied naked on floor of the jail,” Ekl said.

Marseilles Police arrested Holmes for suspected driving drunk back in May. Video shows her sitting calmly in jail and a female sheriff's deputy patting her down.

Officers claim that is when she became combative by lifting her leg. Holmes denies it. Her attorney said police reports show no justification for what happened next.

"This wasn't a search, they just stripped her, to do one you have to have reasonable concern she has a weapon or is secreting drugs, that didn't exist here,” Ekl said. “If you were to search a female, has to be done by a female officer in a secluded location, prior approval of supervisor. None of those things were done."

Officers eventually threw Holmes blankets to cover herself. She said she was humiliated again struggling to stay covered while being fingerprinted in front of several male officers.

“She doesn't understand how in the world law enforcement who you are supposed to trust, supposed to be there to protect you could do something like this,” Ekl said.

Holmes wants to see the officers fired. Her lawyer is asking the LaSalle County State's attorney to bring criminal charges as well.