SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Four women who were in the Sumner County Jail in November 2013 claim a female guard inside the jail laughed and told them to “shut the h!*$ up” when they asked her to not conduct a strip search in front of a male guard.
The women, who are no longer in the jail, filed a federal lawsuit naming the county and both guards.
News 2 is not identifying the guards because they have not been charged with a criminal offense and Sumner County cleared them of wrongdoing after an internal investigation.
According to the lawsuit, the women were woken up around 1 a.m. for a surprise search for contraband.
During the search, according to the lawsuit and the county answer, there was no contraband found. The females were then strip searched.
According to the lawsuit, they asked the female deputy to ask the male deputy to leave before they were searched.
“When it came time for plaintiffs to undergo their strip searches, each plaintiff voiced her strong objection to the [female deputy] about [the male deputy’s] presence during the search,” the lawsuit states. “The [female deputy] replied to the plaintiff’s request by ordering them to, ‘Shut the h*$! up and submit to the strip search.’”
Sumner County’s attorney did not respond to an email asking for comment, but did respond to the allegations in a response to the complaint filed with the federal court.
The county confirmed that the women were searched and surveillance video from inside the jail shows the male deputy in the pod during the search, but it also said he did not have a view of the women who were naked and he did not violate any county policies.
The women filed grievances with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. The office conducted an internal investigation of the incident and did not find any wrongdoing.