Chicago News

Exclusive: Alleged victim Tevin Ford says Chicago police conducted illegal strip searches

Thursday, January 30, 2014

In an ABC7 Eyewitness News exclusive, we hear from one of the alleged victims accusing eight Chicago police officers of civil rights violations. A lawsuit filed Wednesday claims the cops conducted illegal strip searches.

"They take my cousin the gangway next to us and make him pull his pants completely down in broad daylight," said Tevin Ford, alleged victim.

Ford said that if you cannot trust Chicago police officers to serve and protect, then who can you trust? He says that he is just grateful that there is a video of the searches. A South Side resident happened to be recording for nearly 20 minutes.

It was May 2013. Chicago officers are seen on video searching two men and one woman. What happened during this stop is at the center of a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

"In one word to sum it up, disgusted. I mean for them, not just illegally search someone, but illegally strip search someone?" said Ford.

Tevin Ford, who is seen in the dark clothing in the video, says it started this way:

"During the searches, they opened our pants up, looking inside our pants," said Ford.

But then, he says he watched as police had his cousin, Robert Douglas, walk backwards to a gangway. Once there, Ford says police handcuffed Douglas to a bar.

"They had him pull his pants down with one arm. They were looking up under him-- saying, what is it? where is it?-- they were just looking for whatever they were looking for," said Ford.

This moment, their attorney says, shows an illegal strip search, followed by one officer looking at Douglas's backside.

"You see a search that is a strip search, which has very strict rules that the legislature has determined are the appropriate way to do these kind of things and these officers didn't follow any of those rules," said Jon Erickson, alleged victim's attorney.

Douglas was arrested for possessing drugs, and told his mom about the search.

"I was like, Robert, they cannot do that. I said that's against the law for them to do that to you," said Willia Douglas, mother of deceased alleged victim.

The lawsuit alleges that police then took Douglas's girlfriend, Caprice Halley, around the corner to this alley.

"And forced, in front of five male Chicago police officers, to pull down her pants and squat and she was ordered to remove her tampon in a dirty back alley," said Erickson.

Erickson says a female officer searched Halley's private parts. A month later, Douglas was killed in a South Side shooting. His family, cousin, and girlfriend are still taking legal action for that day.

"It's not right, they should be prosecuted like they always prosecute someone," said Ford.

Halley, the woman in this case, is facing charges for drug possession. A spokesman for the city's legal department says they have not been served this lawsuit, so at this point, the city has not commented.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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