Floyd County, Indiana: End Brutal, Sexual Assaults on Women in Custody

  • by: Susan V
  • target: Floyd County, Indiana Sheriff's Department

An Indiana woman arrested by Floyd County police was stripped of her clothing by male and female officers and then pepper sprayed while being held naked in a closed cell for hours. Incredibly the sheriff’s office told the press that this was all normal procedure!

The woman’s attorney, Laura Landenwich, gave a local TV news station a video of the police assault - which shows two male and female officers grabbing the victim’s neck and body and holding her down before, as she claims, they then forceably removed her pants, shirt, panties and bra.The video clearly shows a struggle occurred and then, next, the woman was left alone and naked in the cell.

According to reports, the woman was then pepper-sprayed and left in the closed cell for over half an hour before she was allowed to wash out her eyes. Only then was she given a small covering that left her body partially exposed as she was escorted by a male officer in front of others outside the cell, even those in the booking room.

As Landenwich points out, the woman is innocent until PROVEN guilty, and "this is not Abu Ghraib." She was only charged with a misdemeanor in the first place - not a violent crime.

Nothing excuses what the officers did to this woman, and there are suspicions of connections to police pornography. It’s been made clear that she’s not their first victim.

Make sure she’s their last! Tell Floyd County to end its brutal, sexual assaults on women in custody.

We, the undersigned say there can be no excuse for stripping a woman in custody naked and leaving her in a padded room with pepper spray.

The evidence of this assault, shown in the video released by her attorney, leaves little if anything to question.

Though the video doesn’t completely show the officers actually stripping the woman naked, it clearly shows male and female officers taking off some of her clothing, then wrestling her to the floor, and then next the woman is standing naked in the closed cell, with no covering on whatsoever.

This site has revealing photos:


WHAS TV provides an audio interview with a former Floyd County corrections officer who said that it was policy to remove a person’s clothing if they were exhibiting behavior that showed they were a threat to others or themselves - it depended upon the “amount of aggression being shown," he said.

But the video doesn’t support this excuse, even if it were a legitimate excuse. It shows the woman being led into the building from the patrol car very calmly and cooperatively. She seems to remain calm while seated and speaking to officers, until something is apparently said by the officers that prompts her to stand up and walk toward the door. Perhaps they told her to take all her clothes off!

WHAS also interviewed a spokesman for Louisville Metro Corrections who said that his department has never had a case where “they had to remove an inmate’s clothing.”

Nevertheless, added WHAS, Floyd County Sheriff’s Department claimed they violated no rules.

What is most disturbing about this video is that it causes suspicion that the department may be involved with pornography, because there appears to be no justification whatsoever for stripping this woman naked, much less leaving her uncovered, while she was videotaped in a padded cell. Then pepper spraying her for being upset!

This is clear police brutality, with sexual overtones - and an outrage!

We request that this incident be investigated and these brutal, sexual attacks and the policies that support them terminated - if it takes firing everyone in the department to do it.

Update #23 years ago
The evidence is in – ABH has no good reason to keep John locked up or forced drugged, but 3 weeks after the last witness testified, Judge Holzapfel refuses to decide. This means John’s forced drugging, his illegal incarceration, & ABH’s retaliation against him, continue with impunity as his attorneys can neither stop it nor appeal. Please spread the word – justice delayed is justice denied.
Update #13 years ago
Officers in this photo and other Floyd County Sheriff Department employees now face a class-action lawsuit initiated by this female victim and others who allege they suffered similar abuse. Please continue to spread the word and help prevent such abuse from occurring in the U.S. - or anywhere else - again.
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