Woman says she was ‘humiliated, disgusted’ during strip search at LMDC

Forced to strip naked, a woman is escorted 15 feet through LMDC while entering a drug rehabilitation program.
Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s behavior not linked to a charge, but one that its alleged victim is calling cruel, unusual and even dehumanizing.

“I was humiliated, disgusted,” Darcella Means said. “I knew I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Means was so humiliated by what she said was done to her that her shame prevented her from allowing her face to be seen on TV for this report, but that didn’t stop her from telling her story.

She said it happened Sept. 2 of last year. Means was entering LMDC’s 90-day drug recovery program “Enough is Enough.”

“They walked me out of the strip search room through booking where at least seven male officers were standing there,” she said. “They were just staring at me. There were like five male inmates, and they were just sitting there yelling, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.’”

All while being fully nude, Means said she was escorted by two female officers.

“I was just embarrassed; I was so embarrassed like ... I’m hurt,” Means said.

Reports obtained from LMDC chronicle the event and back up Means’ story, adding that she was not cooperating with directions being given.

The reports state Officer Keshonda Rudolph and Lasha Bearden were both told they should have allowed Means to dress, or she should have been covered before being moved.

One of the officers later apologized. Means documented the encounter in a grievance report.

“I, Darcella Means, got my tray and was called back to her,” she said. “K. Rudolph, to the door. She wouldn’t look me in my face, but she did apologize to me in booking naked, in front of all the male officers and male inmates.”

The day of that apology also was the day both officers were disciplined. Reports show it was recommended that both be put on a three-day suspension, but instead they walked away still employed -- Rudolph hit with a written warning and Bearden a verbal.

“I do understand that I had to go to the jail to do the program,” Means said. “No one is going to be happy they are in jail, but the way I was treated, processed, from the strip search room through booking, that was unacceptable.”

WAVE 3 requested video of the incident and an interview from LMDC. Officials said they didn’t want to comment, and that video could not be released because of security concerns within the jail. Means is currently working with an attorney.

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