Jonathan Jacobson sues Olmsted deputies for 'unreasonable' strip search


A night of partying can turn ugly fast.

For Rochester man Jonathan Jacobson, getting pulled over after drinking beer and taking Ecstasy was just the beginning.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, Jacobson says two deputies at the Olmsted County jail made him strip naked and show them every intimate corner of his body without any reason to believe he was hiding contraband. The suit alleges the two deputies inflicted emotional trauma and violated his constitutional rights, and now Jacobson wants them to pay for it.

Jacobson was arrested on September 12, 2009 -- three days before his 19th birthday -- for driving under the influence. Olmsted County deputy James McCormick patted Jacobson down at the scene, but didn't find any weapons or drugs, according to the complaint.

After being handcuffed and brought back to the jail, another deputy, Polyxene Voltaire, made Jacobson turn his pockets inside out, the complaint alleges. Still finding nothing, McCormick and Voltaire ordered Jacobson into the strip search cell, called the "Pink."

Once in the cell, they ordered Jacobson to strip naked, face them, and lift up his genitals, according to the complaint. Then they made him turn around, spread his butt cheeks, and bend over three times so they could "inspect his anal opening."

"They can't do that kind of a search unless they have a reasonable belief that you're smuggling something into the jail," says Jacobson's attorney, Duane Kennedy. "This was a misdemeanor, so he wasn't going into the jail anyway."

Kennedy admits his client was on Ecstasy at the time, but he says the deputies didn't know that until long after the strip search when Jacobson took a blood or urine test.

"They will claim they did," says Kennedy. "We're claiming they didn't have any reason to believe that."

Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem wouldn't comment on whether the deputies crossed the line with Jacobson, but says it's protocol to search anyone who enters the jail.

"The adult detention center is a secure facility, so everybody that goes in there has to undergo some sort of search or scrutiny - including myself," says Ostrem. "I gotta walk through a metal detector."

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