Three people who claim Chicago Police strip-searched them in public and falsely accused them of carrying heroin during a traffic stop last year are suing the city, calling the officers’ actions “exceeding all bounds of human decency.”
Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford and a representative for the estate of Robert Douglas filed the suit in U.S. District Court Wednesday.
All three claim they were searched by police May 23, 2013, after officers in an unmarked squad car drove at them the wrong way in the 9000 block of South Laflin Street, the suit says.
Police ordered them out of their vehicle and handcuffed Ford and Douglas, who had been driving, the suit claims. Officers opened both men’s waistbands and searched down their pants.
The suit alleges police then walked Douglas to a nearby house, handcuffed his wrist to bars on the home’s window, and pulled his pants to the ground while bending him over and searching his buttocks in the open air.
The plaintiffs claim police stopped when they saw neighbors looking, and then took all of them to an alley behind a church in the 9100 block of South Bishop Street, where they ordered Halley to remove her pants.
Halley claims she “pleaded” with a female officer not to, but that the officers made her remove her tampon and submit to a body cavity search in the alley.
A female officer searched her, while a group of male officers watched and “made jokes and comments about Ms. Halley’s body,” the suit claims.
The suit claims police found nothing illegal, but that the female officer reached toward her own sock and pulled out a small bag of heroin that she said she found in Halley’s waistband.
Halley and Douglas were both charged with delivery and a possession of a controlled substance, according to the suit.
Charges against Douglas were dropped when he died in June of 2013. His mother, Willie Douglas, filed the suit on his behalf. Halley’s attorneys expect the criminal charges against her to be dismissed, the suit says.
The 10-count lawsuit against the city and eight named police officers calls the strip searches “unjustifiable” and calls the officer’s actions “extreme and outrageous, exceeding all bounds of human decency.”
The plaintiffs are claiming violations of their constitutional rights, as well as conspiracy, unlawful search and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
A spokesman for the city’s Law Department declined to comment Wednesday night, saying the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit.