In a lawsuit against Illinois’ LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office, former Marine Zandrea Askew, 28, says she was illegally strip-searched and left naked in a jail cell for 12 hours.
On Jan. 20, 2017, Askew was arrested for driving under the influence and resisting arrest, even though she passed her field sobriety tests. 18 months later, all charges against Askew were dropped, but the treatment she received while in custody is now under scrutiny.
According to surveillance video, Askew was strip-searched in a jail cell, while she was crying, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” The lawsuit states that Askew was “falsely arrested” and was “forcibly dragged” into a cell.
“There was no legitimate or necessary law enforcement, safety or penological objective to forcibly stripping [Askew] of her clothing. The only objective of the officers was to punish, harass, humiliate, degrade, and inflict physical and psychological pain,” the lawsuit states. “The officers’ conduct in stripping [Askew] of her clothing was intentionally demeaning, dehumanizing, undignified, humiliating, terrifying, embarrassing and degrading.”
“This attack and stripping occurred in the presence and/or with the knowledge of other LaSalle County officers,” the complaint continues. “None of the officers attempted to stop the vicious attack on [Askew] despite the fact that it occurred over several minutes and [she] was crying out in extreme distress, pain and fear during the attack.”
Terry Ekl, Askew’s attorney, says his client was left in the cell with just a blanket for 12-hours.
“You cannot strip people and treat them like animals because they defy your authority,” Ekl told WLS.
The Chicago Sun-Times
states Askew is seeking at least $1,000,000 in damages and names Sheriff Thomas Templeton as a defendant and six other deputies.