A federal jury found that the Cook County Sheriff's Department in Illinois illegally searched hundreds of thousands of inmates.
Jurors heard from two dozen former inmates who said they were subjected to mass strip searches while being made to stand naked in blood, vomit and urine on the jail floor.
Attorneys estimated half a million male inmates went through the Cook County jai in the last two years, and they were all subjected to group strip searches in a dirty hallway.
"You got 80, 90 men shoulder to shoulder," one former inmate said. "You're bending down, spreading your butt cheeks. You got officers disrespecting you, talking to you any kind of way."
"It doesn't matter what you did," another former inmate said. "Maybe for a parking violation or moving violation and subjected to this kind of treatment. We're out there for at least 30 or 40 minutes naked waiting for them to search us. I saw a gentleman punched in the face."
While the jury has found in favor of the inmates, they have not yet heard arguments about how the county should be penalized. Attorneys are looking for former inmates for a class action lawsuit.
The sheriff's office says the jail now uses a scanning device instead of most strip searches. It maintains nothing inappropriate happened, and no one's constitutional rights were violated.
The sheriff's department is planning an appeal of the jury's decision.
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