Federal Trial Focuses on Strip Search

A mother took the stand Tuesday in Tallahassee's federal courthouse sobbing as she described the night she says she and her daughter were strip searched during a traffic stop in Jefferson County.

The McCloud family is suing several Jefferson County deputies to the tune of $10 million, saying the law men violated their civil rights that night.

The McClouds had little to say as they left Tallahassee's federal courthouse.

Arnetta McCloud, the mother, said, "We're just glad our day in court has come and God will take care of the rest."

But they had plenty to say on the stand. Cynthia McCloud was 15 then and told the jury how a deputy frisked her and then had her drop her pants and even her underwear right on the side of the road as deputies searched them and their car for drugs.

Her mother, Arnetta McCloud, took the stand too, alternately angry and sobbing as she described a deputy unbuckling her pants for a search and then the major on scene uttering several racial slurs. She testified at one point he said, "I'm sick of you n*****s from south Florida bringing up all this dope."

Court documents show deputies stopped the car for speeding after an informant claimed to have bought cocaine from father Freddy McCloud earlier in the night. Court papers show deputies contend the search for drugs both in their car and their relatives' home afterward were legal.

MAJ Mike Joiner, who Mrs. McCloud described as wearing a cowboy hat and clearly in charge that night, had no comment until the trial is over.

Deputies did not find drugs in the McCloud's car or their relatives' home. Freddy McCloud was charged with selling cocaine that day, but the charges were later dropped.

Wednesday we expect to get a look at the deputies' in-dash surveillance video of this incident.


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