IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)-- Two teachers arrested at a 2004 campaign rally for President Bush and strip-searched at a county jail have filed a lawsuit alleging law officers conspired to violate their constitutional rights.
Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson, both in their 50s, were among five protesters arrested at the Sept. 3 rally. The pair were handcuffed, taken to the county jail, strip-searched and charged with criminal trespass. The charges were dropped months later.
The lawsuit claims the strip search violated constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and the women's rights to free speech, free assembly, equal protection and due process were violated, and that federal agents conspired with local and state law enforcement to deprive them of those rights.
Named in the lawsuit were the Secret Service and three of its agents, the Iowa State Patrol and two patrolmen, and Linn County.Typically suspects are searched only if authorities have cause to believe they possess a weapon or illegal drugs, O'Brien said.
"We don't think they had a reasonable belief that thesetwo, 50-year-old school teachers had a weapon or contraband in their possession that day," O'Brien said, whose clients requested a jury trial and unspecified damages.