WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Sued Over "Unconstitutional" Strip Search

Jul 7, 2016

A lawsuit filed by a former southeast Iowa police chief claims Lee County violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to a strip search after his arrest in May 2015.

William “B.J.” Sackett was charged with one count of domestic abuse assault following an incident at his home involving his wife.  He resigned as Donnellson's police chief shortly afterwards.

Sackett claims in his lawsuit that he was “subjected to a strip search by members of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.” He said there were no grounds or regulations that allowed this action to occur.

According to the lawsuit, “the strip search conducted on [Sackett] was not conducted with a specific purpose, but only to humiliate and embarrass [Sackett].”

Sackett said the violation of his constitutional rights entitles him to damages including, but not limited to, emotional distress, pain and suffering, embarrassment, and humiliation.

Sackett is requesting a jury trial.

Sackett was eventually acquitted in the case involving his wife.  A jury in March 2016 found him not guilty of domestic abuse.  The trial lasted just six hours and it took jurors less than 45 minutes to return their verdict.