ACLU settles lawsuit with Woonsocket police over strip search
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union and the Woonsocket Police Department have settled a lawsuit filed two years ago on behalf of a Massachusetts woman who claimed an officer performed an illegal strip search and left her naked in a holding cell for several hours.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Providence by Joann Lanoue, of Blackstone, accused the department of unconstitutional conduct for allegedly performing the search based on a minor offense.
Under the settlement announced Wednesday by the ACLU, the department has agreed to pay Lanoue $65,000 in exchange for dismissal of the suit. The agreement doesnďż˝t acknowledge any wrongdoing by the department.
Lanoue was arrested Dec. 15, 2001, after she was involved in a car accident. She refused to take a Breathalyzer test while at the police station.
She said a female officer then ordered her to take off her clothes and left her naked in a cell for at least five hours, with a surveillance camera located directly in front of her cell.
She was released from the station the next morning, and a charge of driving under the influence was later dismissed.