A leader of two armed standoffs with the federal government has filed a lawsuit claiming he has been repeatedly strip searched against his will in jail while awaiting trial.
In the suit filed Monday, Ryan Bundy says he has been forced to "undergo oppressive, intrusive, and unlawful body cavity searches multiple times per day" while housed at the Southern Nevada Detention Center. The searches, which required him to remove his clothing and expose himself to jail personnel, were "nonconsensual intrusions" against his Constitutional rights.
Bundy "has been forced and threatened to bend over and expose his anus by spreading his buttock checks wide open" while jailers "peer" into his body cavity "hundreds of times," the lawsuit states. Bundy also alleges there have been 40 "highly intrusive strip/body cavity searches."
The son of Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of a southern Nevada family that led an armed standoff with federal agents in 2014, 44-year-old Ryan Bundy has been jailed in a Pahrump, Nevada, since December on charges stemming from the confrontation.
Though the 2014 standoff ultimately resolved without significant violence, Ryan Bundy and his brother Ammon went on to lead another armed confrontation with federal agents in Oregon in 2016. That standoff ended after another participant, LaVoy Finicum, was killed and the Bundys and their supporters were arrested.
Ryan and Ammon were both acquitted last year on charges from the 2016 Oregon standoff. However, both brothers and their father Cliven are now awaiting trial on charges resulting from the 2014 Nevada standoff. Both incidents drew increased attention to long-simmering tensions over land use across the West.
Ryan Bundy's lawsuit does not list a lawyer and he could not immediately be reached Thursday.
The Southern Nevada Detention Center is operated by a publicly traded company called CCA. Bundy's lawsuit lists the company, the warden, various unnamed CCA employees, and US Marshals personnel as defendants.
CCA did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
According to the suit, Bundy refused to undergo any more searches in March and was "punished" by being put into "disciplinary segregation" 24 hours at a time for about 100 days.
It also argues that neither government authorities nor the jail operators have "credible evidence" supporting the need to do strip searches. However, the US Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that authorities are allowed to conduct strip searches even if they have no reason to suspect that they'll find contraband.
Bundy concludes the suit by asking for $35 million in damages.
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at email@example.com.
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