Eight Chicago police officers conducted illegal, open-air strip searches without probable cause, a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday claims.
The controversial searches, partially seen in video footage picked up by all the city's TV news stations this week, reportedly took place on May 23, 2013 in the 9000 block of South Laflin Street, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The lawsuit claims police in an unmarked squad car pulled over the three plaintiffs -- two men and one women -- after the officers drove the wrong way down a one-way street, the Sun-Times reports.
The group of three -- 26-year-old Caprice Halley, 20-year-old Tevin Ford and 19-year-old Robert Douglas, who was since killed in a shooting -- were subsequently searched for drugs and one of the men was forced to strip naked in a nearby gangway, the lawsuit claims. The woman, Halley, was allegedly forced to remove her pants and a tampon by the only female officer at the scene while other officers at the scene commented about her body in an incident not seen on the video.
The female officer said she found heroin in Holley's pants, but Michael Oppenheimer, the plaintiffs' attorney, claims the drugs were planted there by the officer herself, NBC Chicago reports. Two of the three were then charged with drug possession.
Jon Erickson, another of the plaintiffs' attorneys, told ABC Chicago the amateur video taken of the incident shows "these officers didn't follow any of those rules" laid out for such searches, including the need for a warrant and that the searches be conducted away from the view of "persons not physically conducting the search" and under the supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine.
The city nor Chicago Police have yet to comment on the lawsuit.