Two women have sued the Texas Department of Public Safety over a body search by a female trooper captured by patrol car video along a Dallas-area highway.
According to the federal lawsuit the July 13 the body cavity search of 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs, was unlawful. The Irving women released the video during a news conference Tuesday.
"I was molested I was violated I was humiliated in front of other traffic I had to witness my niece go through the same thing," said Angel Dobbs.
The women say a male Trooper told them he stopped them because he saw them throw cigarette butts out of their car window. After he questioned them about drugs the Trooper called for a female Trooper to conduct a body search. The video shows the female Trooper put her hands down the front and back of the women's pants. It appears that the female Trooper used the same pair of latex gloves on both women during the search.
"I didn't know what I could say or what I could do I felt hopeless," said Ashley Dobbs.
A DPS spokesperson declined an on camera interview, but issued the following formal statement:
"We do not discuss pending litigation. However, 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."
The review is expected to reach a grand jury next month.
The head of the Texas Civil Rights Project reviewed the video of the search and called it a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
"You know when you look at it, they did it so nonchalantly, and now you wonder how many other folks they've stooped on the street for traffic violations and done this outrageous procedure," said Jim Harrington.
The TCRP is not involved in the lawsuit but reviewed the video after being contacted by FOX 7. Harrington said it is important to note that the two women claim no drugs were found, and that based on his review the Troopers did not have probable cause to escalate the search.
"No, I don't see anything in that scene, even if assuming he is telling the truth about the marijuana, he smelled marijuana, which I think is ridiculous, that's typical cop subtext, but all that would have led him to be justified in doing is searching the car," said Harrington.
The Department of Public Safety is not commenting about its policy regarding the search of individuals. Officials did confirm that the female trooper has been suspended and it is believed the male trooper is on regular duty.
A spokesperson with the Travis County Sheriff's Office says if a body cavity search is determined to be necessary, deputies are told to go to the County Jail where the procedure can takes place a private room.