Recorded on surveillance video stripping an Illinois woman naked while threatening her with a Taser, two male correctional officers and a female colleague do not face disciplinary actions despite her fears of potential sexual assault.
On October 26, 2019, Ariel Harrison, who is blind in her left eye, dropped off her children at the local YMCA and later offered a ride to a stranger stranded in the rain. According to the police, officers pulled over Harrison after receiving a call concerning a vehicle driving recklessly.
But according to Harrison, the officers never told her why they decided to pull over her vehicle. When she attempted to inform the officers that her driver’s side window could not open, they reportedly opened her door and began screaming multiple orders at her.
“I was in shock mode, I guess. I didn’t know what to do,” Harrison told Vice News. “I was still trying to process why I was being pulled over exactly when they snatched me up out of their car.”
While the police claim that Harrison refused to take a sobriety test, Harrison asserts that they never offered her to take any field sobriety tests, breathalyzers, blood tests, or urine tests. In Illinois, police can arrest someone on probable cause if suspected of drinking. In the police report, they noted a scent of alcohol from the vehicle along with Harrison’s bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.
Handcuffed and transported to the McDonough County Jail, Harrison was removed from the patrol car by force and slammed to the ground after refusing to exit the vehicle. While falling to the ground, she grabbed an officer’s collar in an attempt to break her fall and was subsequently charged with aggravated battery.
Claiming that Harrison was resisting arrest, another officer shot her multiple times with a Taser. According to Harrison, she lost consciousness and later awoke in a jail cell.
In April, a surveillance video from Harrison’s cell showed three officers kneeling on her back while removing her handcuffs and sweater. Harrison appears to be screaming and crying throughout the first video.
Last month, a second video revealed a male and female officer entering Harrison’s cell and ordering her to strip naked. The female officer aimed a Taser directly at Harrison, who was pleading not to be forced to undress in front of male officers for fear of sexual assault.
In the second video, the officers grabbed Harrison and forcibly began to remove her clothes as a second male officer entered the cell to remove her underwear. Harrison was left naked on the floor of the cold cell until a male officer later entered the cell and dropped a blanket on the ground.
“I had told her that it’s not right. That he wasn’t supposed to be there while I changed,” Harrison told Vice News. “She told me, ‘Well, he’s here with me.’ Basically, she didn’t really care. I felt like she violated my rights.”
Spending six days in jail before she was released on bond, Harrison was charged with several counts, including aggravated battery, driving under the influence, resisting a peace officer, and improper lane usage. Found guilty of the four charges, she awaits sentencing currently scheduled for August 10, while her attorney has filed a standard motion for a new trial.
“The incident was documented by involved personnel. Additionally, the incident was further reviewed by Department Supervisory personnel and documented per Macomb Police Policy and Procedures,” the Macomb Police Department said in a recent statement. “The Macomb Police Department serves our community in a fair and unbiased manner as we report events objectively, impartially, and without bias.”
Currently, no officers face any disciplinary actions or criminal charges for forcibly stripping Harrison naked in her cell with a Taser.