[Caution Trigger Warning: NSFW, graphic images that are disturbing in nature.]
This is mind-boggling, even for Texas. In the video above, two women were pulled over by Texas State Troopers for allegedly throwing a cigarette out of the car window. Body cavity searches were performed on them in the middle of the road for anyone driving by to see.
The gloves worn by the trooper performing the searches were not changed between anal and vaginal probes, and they weren't even changed between women.
Afterwards, there is no ticket issued.
David Edwards at Video Cafe reported on the incident when it took place in December 2012.
Just days after the first video surfaced, a second video surfaces. This time the traffic stop happens just outside of Houston. Two females, pulled over for allegedly speeding, are subjected to body cavity searches by a female officer summoned to the scene by a male trooper. Unlike the earlier tape, this one had clear audio. One woman can be heard as she yells in pain as the female trooper shoves her hand inside the woman. Once again, the female troopers don't change gloves between probes, according to the horrified victims.
[Graphic, NSFW]Dash cam documents trooper Nathaniel Turner shortly after pulling over Brandy Hamilton, who was driving home after a day at the beach with friend Alexandra Randle. He was later suspended. The female officer who conducted cavity searches on the women was fired.
In both videos, you'll notice the women emit light laughs or giggles during the invasive searches. No doubt they do not find it at all amusing, but are having a rather normal nervous reaction to the shock and humiliation they are experiencing.
The Daily News reports:
"Lawyers and civil rights advocates tell the Daily News these cavity searches are really standard policy among the Texas Department of Public Safety’s state troopers, despite their illegality — not to mention that they were conducted on the side of the road in full view of passing motorists.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Dallas attorney Peter Schulte, a former Texas cop and prosecutor. “We would never put our hands anywhere near someone’s private parts,” he said of his time as a police officer in the city of McKinney. “When I saw that video I was shocked. I was a law enforcement officer for 16 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, who oversees state troopers, denied an interview request from The News. In an earlier statements about the videotaped traffic stops, McCraw said his department “does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions, or DPS training or policy.”
So how did Texas troopers hundreds of miles apart get captured on dash cams conducting body cavity searches under nearly identical conditions?
“The fact that they both happened means there is some sort of (department) policy” advocating their use at traffic stops, Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project told the Daily News. “It’s such a prohibited practice. I don’t know why they think they can do this. It’s mind-boggling.”'
“They basically raped them on the side of the road,” said Houston attorney Allie Booker, who represents the women.
“Texas is a very big state,” Booker said. “It alarms me that something that happened in north Texas also happened down here in the south.”
Since the federal lawsuit became public, Booker says her office has received about five phone calls from women saying they had also been subjected to cavity searches by Texas state troopers.
“A lot of people are scared to come forward,” Booker said. “But people are contacting us. They say ‘hey, this happened to me, too.’’’
In late June, Dobbs and her attorneys settled their case for $184,000. Criminal trials against state troopers Helleson and Farrell are pending.
It's very brave of these women to come forward with their stories, and now,thanks to their courage, other women can come forward to call out the law in Texas for these assaults.
It's still difficult to fathom why women officers seem to have willingly committed these acts, but perhaps these lawsuits will bring all the facts to light in Texas.
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