In October 2019, 30-year-old Ariel Harrison was pulled over by police in Macomb County, Illinois for allegedly driving reckless. Although Harrison insisted she had not been drinking the officers arrested her for driving under the influence.
Harrison claimed the officers never told her why they pulled her over even after she pleaded for them to explain what she did wrong. She says the officers never tested her alcohol levels before tasing her multiple times and taking her to McDonough County Jail.
Correction officers at the jail claimed Harrison was uncooperative and that they forcibly removed her clothes because she wouldn’t comply with their orders to undress.
Harrison said she didn’t want to remove her clothes with the two male officers present because she was afraid of being sexually assaulted.
“I had told her that it’s not right. That he wasn’t supposed to be there while I changed,” Harrison said about the female officer. “She told me, ‘Well, he’s here with me.’ Basically, she didn’t really care. I felt like she violated my rights.”
Video footage from inside the jail cell shows two corrections officers and a sheriff pointing a taser at a handcuffed Harrison and stripping her bare as she cries and pleads for them to stop. After being tased and stripped, Harrison is left naked in the room.
“That stuff happened so fast,” Harrison said of the incident. “When I watch the video of them doing that stuff to me, I’m in shock. It’s like I look at them and say ‘That couldn’t be me.’”
Harrison was charged with aggravated battery, driving under the influence, resisting a peace officer, and improper lane usage. She is now facing five to seven years in prison and has lost custody of her three children (ages 6, 12, and 13) because of the arrest. She says she hasn’t seen them over a year since the night she was arrested.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 10.
The video of Harrison’s jailhouse encounter was obtained by the Democratic Women of Mcdonough County (DWMC) via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).