Immigrant Detainee in Essex County Jail Says He Was X-Rayed for Contraband

WNYC | April 18, 2019 | Immigration
After being strip-searched, Yuri McKoy was taken to University Hospital in Newark where, he said, an X-ray showed nothing

Credit: Courtesy of the family
Yuri McKoy
Yuri McKoy just wrapped up a visit with his newborn son, Joshua, when he went in for the mandatory strip search in one of the few places at the Essex County Correctional Facility that doesn’t have a video camera. McKoy said he knew the drill. If you choose to have a “contact visit” — meaning you can touch, hold and hug the loved ones who visit — then afterward, you must get strip-searched. Corrections officers want to make sure that contraband isn’t passed to a detainee.

McKoy said he was prepared to strip naked. But the corrections officer thought “detainee McKoy’s demeanor seemed to change” after Joshua and the baby’s mother left the visiting area, according to one of two Essex County Department of Corrections reports filed after the incident and obtained through a public records request. McKoy seemed “very nervous” and “suspicious.”

On the way into the strip-search room, McKoy “seemed to move with the intent to get in” the room ahead of the officer, who suspected McKoy of concealing contraband in his rectum. “When I asked him to begin the strip search by passing me his shirt, his hands quickly went into his waistband and immediately moved behind his buttocks,” the officer wrote. Since McKoy refused to raise his hands, the officer “immediately took him down to the ground and handcuffed him.”

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