Two women from Irving, Texas are suing state troopers and the head of their department in federal court after they say they were forced to endure an illegal and humiliating “roadside body cavity search” during a routine traffic stop, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The case is currently under investigation by the public integrity division of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and will go before a grand jury in January.
The dash-mounted camera on a trooper’s vehicle reportedly captured the entire incident on video. Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece Ashley Dobbs, 24, say the unlawful search happened on the night of July 13 along a state highway.
Watch the video below via The Dallas Morning News (Content Warning!):
In their lawsuit, the women allege that a female trooper, identified as Kelley Helleson, used her fingers to search both their anuses and vaginas with the same latex glove. To add to their horrific experience, the women say they were on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.
The video from the car’s dash cam clearly shows a female officer feeling around both women’s breasts and then sticking her hand down the front and back of their pants, wearing latex gloves.
According to the lawsuit, David Farrell, a Texas state trooper, pulled the car over after seeing the women throw cigarette butts out of the window. He reportedly questioned them about marijuana and then called Helleson to the scene to assist him.
Farrell requested the search because he said the women were “acting weird,” the suit said.
More from The Dallas Morning News:
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.
While the Texas Department of Public Safety refuses to discuss pending court cases, DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger 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.”
Scott H. Palmer, an attorney representing the women, told the Dallas Morning News that the entire ordeal was caught on video from one of the trooper’s dash cams.
“You can see what’s happening clearly,” he added.
Palmer blasted the troopers’ conduct, saying the searches were basically “sexual assault” on the side of the road. “No one’s ever seen the likes of this…We can’t let them get away with it.”