A new viral video shows disturbing images of a former Marine screaming and begging for assistance while Illinois police ‘forcibly and maliciously’ strip search her on a jail floor.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, three LaSalle County Sheriff’s deputies are seen aggressively removing Zandrea Askew‘s clothes as she sobs face down in the cell.
Then the Marine Corps veteran is thrown around as she desperately screams out, “What are you doing? You’re hurting me. Please.”
Following the incident on January 20, 2017, Askew is now seeking over $1 million in damages, in a lawsuit that claims the strip search was “demeaning, dehumanizing, undignified, humiliating, terrifying, embarrassing, and degrading,” the Sun-Times writes.
Askew’s lawyers told the news outlet that the arrest that led to the search and the search itself were illegal, which is why the police tried to delete the video to cover up their actions.
The 28-year-old, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2015, says in January of 2017 she was sitting in her parked car minding her business when police approached her, notes the report. Despite the fact that she showed no signs of intoxication and also passed the sobriety test that was administered on her, she was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, the report says.
The Chicago Tribune reports that deputies claim they found her to be “very disoriented and confused” during the incident, but Askew, who was on her way to Nevada, told them she had taken a break from driving because her prescription medication had made her drowsy.
The suit alleges deputies then tried to obtain a blood sample from the young women with no legal justification, before she was taken to the LaSalle County Jail. Upon her arrival they allegedly “attacked and restrained Askew causing injury to [her body]” before she was “forcibly and maliciously” strip searched.
In the footage one deputy can be heard telling Askew: “You have one chance to cooperate with us and then we are going to be taking your clothes off off of you ourselves…. are you going to undress yourself? Don’t just look at me like I’m stupid. I’m asking you a question.”
Illinois law clearly prohibits law enforcement officers from strip searching suspects arrested for misdemeanor offenses “unless there is a reasonable belief that the individual is concealing a weapon or a controlled substance,” the report notes.
According to the suit officers “attempted to delete and/or destroy the video recording of the assault and stripping of the Plaintiff. However, despite these efforts, a restored version of the video was recovered and disclosed to Plaintiff by the LaSalle County State’s Attorney’s Office.”
“This was not a strip-search where they were looking for contraband,” explains Askew’s attorney, Terry Ekl. “This was a form of punishment.”