Personal Liberty Violation: Roadside Body Cavity Search in Texas
*Warning, graphic content*
According to Dallas Morning News and Texas Trooper Dash Cam, Texas trooper Kelley Helleson is suspended with pay pending an investigation into a roadside cavity search on two women.
Using the same glove, trooper Helleson allegedly entered first the anus, and then the vagina (a HUGE no-no for any woman trained in health care or personal hygiene) of two women after a routine traffic stop.
Two Irving women are suing two state troopers and the head of their department in federal court, alleging they were subjected to an illegal and humiliating “roadside body cavity search” during a traffic stop.
Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, said the search occurred on State Highway 161 in or near Irving on the night of July 13.
They claim that a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, used her fingers to search their anuses and vaginas — using the same latex glove — while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.
They said David Farrell, a state trooper, had called Helleson to the scene after stopping the women’s vehicle and questioning them about marijuana. Farrell told them he stopped them after seeing them throw cigarette butts out of the window, according to the lawsuit.
He asked for the search because he said the women were “acting weird,” the suit said.
Farrell searched their vehicle for marijuana but didn’t find any, they said. He then tried to “morph this situation into a DWI investigation,” the lawsuit said. Angel Dobbs passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering, the suit said.
During the search of Angel Dobbs’ anus, Helleson irritated one of the cysts she suffers from, the lawsuit said, causing her “severe and continuing pain and discomfort.”
“Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner,” the lawsuit said.
The women also are suing Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, saying he was aware of previous problems and complaints about “unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like” yet failed to do anything about it.
DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the department does not discuss pending litigation but issued the following statement:
“Following the traffic stop that occurred in July of this year and based on a citizen’s complaint, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry surrounding the events, and has since turned the results over to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for review.”
A DA’s Office spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
Scott H. Palmer, an attorney for the women, said the entire incident was caught on video from one of the trooper’s dash-mounted cameras.
“You can see what’s happening clearly,” he said.
Palmer said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients’ complaints but no action was taken against the troopers.
Palmer said the searches were basically a “sexual assault” on the side of the road.
“No one’s ever seen the likes of this,” he said. “We can’t let them get away with it.”
A recent update adds that she has been suspended with pay, pending investigation by the office’s public integrity division and will go before a grand jury in January.
One does wonder what would have happened had any resistance been offered against a public humiliation. If the officers were so convinced the two women had drugs illegal items in their possession, they should have taken them into custody to perform necessary examinations in the a private room at the jail. No human being in this nation should be violated or unlawfully detained without making it lawful by reading them their Miranda rights, then detained and given human decency.
If the women had marijuana, then arresting them on that charge would be appropriate. If they had none, (it appears they did not) then they have no case on that charge. If they appeared intoxicated, (it appears that was not the case) then test them and arrest them under a DWI and do the appropriate search measures then. If they were not intoxicated, nor possessed illegal substances, then they should have been sent on their way with whatever warning or traffic violation citation that caused the stop…the discarding of a cigarette? Perhaps they were just litterers and/or crappy drivers? Welcome to the highway.
We have had bigger fits for not giving terrorists the royal white glove treatment in Guantanamo. If terrorists Muslims won’t go quietly, when they aren’t citizens owed rights of being citizens, why should our own citizens?