Shailene Woodley says she was strip searched after Dakota pipeline arrest

Woodley livestreamed her arrest last year after protesting the Dakota pipeline.

ByABC News
September 7, 2017, 1:26 PM

— -- Shailene Woodley has opened up about the toll she said last year's arrest at the Dakota Access pipeline took on her.

The "Divergent" star, 25, was arrested and charged in October with criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot while protesting the controversial project at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. At the time, Woodley livestreamed the arrest on Facebook.

But in a recent interview with Marie Claire UK, she revealed what she said came after the cameras were gone and she was taken to the Morton County jail.

"I was strip-searched,” she said. “Like get naked, turn over, spread your butt cheeks, bend over.”

The experience was sobering.

"When you’re in a jail cell and they shut that door, you realize no one can save you," she said. "If there’s a fire and they decide not to open the door, you’ll die. You are a caged animal."

After the arrest, Woodley said she turned off her phone for three months while experiencing what she were symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"There was so much trauma," she explained. "Mine was like, 'What do I do now?' Kind of like a little bit of depression."

The Morton County Sheriff's Department responded to Woodley's comment in a statement to ABC News today.

"As is standard procedure within detention facilities, all arrested individuals must undergo a visual assessment in which they are checked for any open wounds or sores, bruising, cuts or other health risks, as well as the possession of drugs," the statement read. "This is to ensure the safety of the other inmates in which they will be housed."

The statement added that "all female inmates are assessed by female law enforcement, and male inmates by male law enforcement."

The department also responded to Woodley's comment about being a "caged animal."

"Our facility has evacuation procedures, so in the event of a fire or other emergency, each cell block would be opened, inmates restrained, and then escorted to one of several exits to leave the building to be taken to safety," the statement read.

Woodley originally pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. But she accepted a plea deal earlier this year in which she pleaded guilty in exchange for one-year probation.

The actress is working in New Zealand on the survival film, "Adrift."