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Man drops strip-search claim

A St. Croix County man has apparently learned it's a good idea to wear underwear if you're risking arrest.

He also has a better understanding of what "strip search" means, and he won't be getting the $25,000 he wanted as compensation for embarrassment and humiliation.

At the request of the man, St. Croix County and its insurance company, Dunn County Judge Rod Smeltzer dismissed a lawsuit filed in May 2008.

"This case was just voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff," said Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman Wednesday. He said neither the county nor its insurance company paid anything to settle the case.

During a deposition taken last November, the man, who was arrested Jan. 21, 2006, for drunk driving, said he had been wearing wool pants, white bibs, wind pants, boots, socks, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt but no underwear.

During booking at the St. Croix County Jail, he was taken into a small room by two male officers. They had him remove his boots, wool pants and white bibs. Then they asked him to change into jail-issue pants because the wind pants had an elastic waistband.

He said that although one of the officers immediately left the room, closing the door as he went, a couple of female deputies in the hall may have seen him undressed.

"The incidental viewing of (the man) because he was not wearing underwear cannot transform 'a change of pants' into a 'strip search' in violation of St. Croix policy," argued Raymond Pollen, the insurance company's attorney when he asked the judge to dismiss the case.

For more on this story, please read the March 18 print edition of the Hudson Star-Observer.