Attorney: Police routinely engaging in “egregious constitutional violations”
June 9, 2014
An Indiana woman is suing the Floyd County Jail in New Albany after video emerged of police officers forcibly stripping her and locking her up, completely naked, in a cell full of pepper spray for seven hours.
Worse still, the woman’s attorney believes that this is routine procedure at the facility and has evidence that other women are consistently given the same treatment.
Local news station WDRB obtained the footage and reports how Tabitha Gentry was arrested by a state police officer for disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement, both misdemeanor charges.
Gentry, a mother of four, was booked into the Floyd County Jail in the early hours of March 30th. Her attorney Laura Landenwich says that the events that unfolded from there need to be reviewed by a court of law.
“Almost immediately upon entering the jail, she’s assaulted by four officers. They grab her around the neck, they grab her body,” Landenwich said, adding that the video shows cops moving Gentry into what they refer to as the “padded room”.
“They hold her down,” Landenwich said. “There are two male officers and two female officers and they forcibly remove her pants, her shoes, her underwear and her shirt and bra.”
“Terrified and humiliated, she’s banging on the door asking someone to give her her clothing and someone comes to the door and says, ‘If you don’t shut up, I’m going to pepper spray you,’ and sure enough, they open the door, spray pepper spray into the room and they leave — and they leave her in there for 40 minutes, naked, in a cell filled with pepper spray.” Landenwich adds.
The cops are then seen to allow Gentry out of the cell momentarily to wash the pepper spray chemicals out of her eyes and off her body. She is partially covered by a blanket, but otherwise paraded through the station for all to see. She was then led back to the cell and left there naked for five more hours before being given something to wear.
“Now this is a woman, who under our system of law, is innocent until proven guilty. She’s charged and she’s charged with a misdemeanor crime that’s not a violent crime,” said Landenwich.
The attorney also notes that this appears to be standard procedure at the facility. “What we also see on the video is there is another inmate also being held naked prior to her entering that cell,” Landenwich said. “These are egregious constitutional violations.”
A police report obtained by WDRB also has one officer noting “I struggled getting her to the ground to remove her clothing per jail policy.”
In addition, it is not the first time such allegations have been made against the jail. In 2012, another woman, named Ashley Storms, a cousin of Gentry, was allegedly stripped of her clothing by sheriff’s deputies, tazed and left naked in a cell for eight hours. That case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
The Floyd County Sheriff told reporters that the officers at the facility “don’t strip search” inmates as a policy. He also added that he believes in this case his officers acted appropriately and that no jail policies were violated.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, andPrisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
This article was posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 10:11 am