Eight Chicago police officers and the City of Chicago are named in a civil rights lawsuit filed Wednesday accusing the officers of conducting a series of illegal open-air strip searches and planting evidence last year.
Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford and the estate of Robert Douglas say they were pulled over in the 9000 block of South Laflin last May by undercover police officers.
The plaintiffs claim Ford and Douglas were handcuffed and searched on the street as additional officers arrived, and that the searches including reaching down the front of their pants.
According to the lawsuit, Douglas was later shackled to the window bars of a nearby home, where officers pulled his pants down, bent him over and searched his buttocks.
The female defendant, Halley, claims she was surrounded by five male officers while a female officer ordered her to remove her pants -- despite her pleas that she was menstruating. The officer allegedly ordered Halley to remove her tampon and proceeded to conducted the search in her vagina while the other officers make jokes and laughed, according to the lawsuit.
The female officer claimed to have found a bag of heroin in Halley's waistband, which Halley maintains was planted.
"One of the police officers leaned down toward her sock, leaned into the car that these young peple were traveling in and claimed, 'Aha, here it is. Here are the drugs,'" the plaintiff's attorney Michael Oppenheimer said.
Douglas and Halley were charged with delivery and possession of a controlled substance. Douglas died last June, and Halley's criminal case is pending.
The lawsuit invokes violations of the 4th Amendment (prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures) and the 14th Amendment.
The plaintiffs are seeking financial damages for claims of their rights being violated and undergoing physical harm and emotional distress and anguish.
The officers named in suit are only referred to by their last names.
An official with the city's law department would not comment on the lawsuit, saying they had yet to see it.