There’s a heap of trouble brewing in Texas.
In two separate, documented incidents, Texas State Troopers have been caught on-camera sexually assaulting women in what would otherwise have been routine traffic stops. Stopped for mundane things such as speeding – or in one case- a smell of marijuana – the women are then subjected to cavity searches. Texas DPS officials have come out on the record stating such searches are unconstitutional and against Texas DPS policy, but as if that wasn’t bad enough the women were searched & probed in full view of passing motorists.
Angel and Ashley Dobbs were pulled over because their car smelled like marijuana. They were asked to exit their vehicle and pass a roadside sobriety test (which they did). It was at this point that a female trooper was called to the scene who then performed a cavity search on both women.
Any description of the events fails to do it proper justice such as hearing the victims exclaim their discomfort with being probed and having fingers inserted inside of them. Both women were searched at roadside, along the side of the highway and in full view of passing motorists. A public strip search. Even convicted criminals are given more dignity than this!
The incident took place near Irving, TX.
Case #2: Troopers cavity search
Brandy Hamilton and Alexandria Randle were stopped outside of Houston, not permitted to put on clothing to cover up their bikinis (they had just come from the beach), and were stopped because of a suspicious marijuana smell. Like Angel and Ashley Dobbs they were also cavity searched alongside the road way in full view of passing motorists after a female trooper was called to the scene to perform the search. This time a marijuana cigarette was indeed found in the car under a seat and charges were filed for possession of paraphernalia.
The similarities in these incidents is quite striking: two separate pairs of women were stopped because of suspicious marijuana smells along the side of a Texas highway. After their cars were searched a female trooper was called to the scene to perform an invasive and humiliating cavity search in full view of passing motorists. The female officer also did not change gloves after performing the searches (gross!).
What is also striking is that these incidents occurred in entirely separate districts hundreds of miles away from each other. So, what’s going on?
Well there’s a lot of obvious conclusions you could draw from these incidents, the first and foremost being that this is in fact Texas Department of Public Safety policy (despite arguments to the contrary). How else could two separate teams of troopers from opposite ends of the state perpetrate a crime in precisely the same manner? Even if this isn’t explicit written policy it could be actively endorsed or encouraged through shift briefings and undocumented, department training procedures (i.e. “on the job” training).
Texans should also be concerned that the abuse is actually far more widespread than is known, because of this is unofficial official policy then it’s probably going on all over Texas. Texan women being groped and violated in full view of passing motorists more than the DPS is letting on. It wouldn’t surprise me if more than a few troopers’ dash cam videos of the incidents were “lost”, either.
What’s equally unsettling is that although Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw did comment – he said his department “does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions, or DPS training or policy” – his comments seem to contradict reality. McCraw has declined to be interviewed and Governor Perry has yet.
The troopers in both incidents were either suspended or charged and convicted, but there’s essentially been no broader inquiry and no real explanation from McCraw and Perry. I guess the only reasonable thing to conclude is that it’s these troopers’ own fault they got caught.
Photo by euthman