Dana Holmes was not the only woman to be forcibly, illegally stripped by LaSalle County deputies, a lawyer for Holmes said in an Illinois court Monday.
"We have reason to believe there are other women who have been illegally strip-searched by the sheriff's office," said attorney Terry Ekl as he asked a federal judge to keep potential video evidence from being destroyed.
Ekl's client, the 33-year-old Holmes, filed a lawsuit last week alleging LaSalle County officers, including several male ones, illegally strip-searched her and left her nude in a jail cell following her May arrest on a DUI charge.
Ekl filed an emergency motion for a protective order Monday citing fears "the video recordings will be destroyed, either routinely or otherwise, if they are not ordered preserved." On Tuesday, the Tribune says a federal judge approved the request to preserve the videos.
According to CBS Chicago, Ekl says five more women contacted him saying they, too, had been subject to illegal strip-searches in LaSalle County.
“Dana Holmes in my opinion was not an isolated case,” Ekl said.
Under Illinois law, police cannot strip-search a person arrested for "a traffic, regulatory or misdemeanor offense" unless there's "reasonable belief" the person may be concealing a weapon or controlled substance. Police are also required to obtain written authorization from a superior and searches must be performed by someone the same sex as the arrestee.
According to Ekl, in Holmes case and potentially others “absolutely every requirement of the strip search statute was violated."
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