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Video: Texas Troopers Sued Over Roadside Cavity Search

December 20, 2012  | 

VIDEO: Roadside Cavity Search In Texas

Two female motorists are suing two Texas troopers and the director of the Department of Public Safety, after they were given a full body cavity search along the roadside.

The women claim they were subjected to an unconstitutional search in full public view without probable cause.

Trooper David Ferrell pulled over Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs for throwing cigarette butts out the window on July 13 while they were driving along State Hgihway 161

In dash-cam video from his cruiser, Ferrell tells the women they will be cited for littering. He then calls Trooper Kelley Helleson to the scene to search them because they're "acting weird."

Helleson puts on latex gloves and then searches the two women in front of the patrol car. After the search, Angel Dobbs tells the trooper she felt violated.

"This has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've never been pulled over, never searched like this. I was totally violated over there a few minutes ago... this is so embarrassing to me," Angel Dobbs said on the video.

Tags: Search and Seizure, Texas DPS, Vehicle Stops, Probable Cause


Comments (21)

Displaying 1 - 21 of 21

Alex @ 12/24/2012 6:13 AM

It's amazing how more and more violations like this occur almost every day. The TSA is setting the example on how to treat US citizens like criminals and now the police are following suit with terrifying regularity.

Remember, you're not Jack Bauer. You're not facing terrorists at every turn. It's time that we all return to the OATH that we took to defend this nation and the CONSTITUTION. If you don't remember what the Constitution says, you should go back and read it. After all, it IS the supreme law of the land.

John @ 12/24/2012 6:27 AM

I think it's great. You don't want searched like this stop doing drugs .. Stop breaking the law. It's just that simple. She was smoking, said she was, and just where do girls hide drugs.. Hmm. U get what u ask for.

Kathleen @ 12/24/2012 7:29 AM

If there were PC to do cavity searches, why not take the women to the station? Did the officers think no one would realize what was being done to these women on the side of the road, in full view of people driving by? How did the officer make the leap from smoking a cigarette to thinking they were concealing illegal drugs? Just because they were "acting weird"? What exactly does THAT mean? Lots of people act a little weird when they are stopped by LE... because they are terrified of what might be done to them. Whatever happened to serve and protect? I think the officers' behavior shocks the conscience, a disgraceful abuse of power.

chief @ 12/24/2012 7:55 AM

What law states that you do a full body search when you smell weed?Especially do it on camera?????

Tom Ret @ 12/24/2012 8:15 AM

Unless thee is more to the story, I personally don't see how a search was justified. I did not watch the video and base my comments on what is written above. Throwing a cigarette out the window is probably on par with such heinous crimes as jay walking. A butt chewing or citation for littering at the most may be in order and what has been done in the past when I worked the street. As I recall I usually had better things to do even if the search was legal and in this case I doubt it.

Lawman @ 12/24/2012 9:46 AM

Such idiots! I've never seen so stupid in my 48 years as a cop. Too bad you can't take a Common Sense 101 class in college. Never have seen this done on the roadside. And to further their stupidity, it is on their car video cam for the defense lawyers. Texas needs to try and settle and go forward. Hopefully, a lesson learned for present and future cops. Maybe academy classes will teach against this behavior!

Lawman @ 12/24/2012 10:08 AM

I don't think Terry v. Ohio extends to cavity searches at the side of the road. This stupidity is right up there with the Piedmont, Oklahoma cop who wrote a 3-year old's mother for the kid urinating in his yard...what happened to treating others like you'd want to be treated?

Jfk @ 12/24/2012 10:14 AM

Really? You actually think these two mouth-breathers were penetrated during the search? Or was the search very thorough and maybe a bit rough? It was such a good search, it felt like a cavity search? Is from a public media source? I want to hear from the officer who did the searching before I believe any cavity was actually penetrated. If it's an aggressive TSA-style pat-down, then good job Trooper. If it was a purposeful cavity search, then you should receive discipline for your actions.

Jerry Sims @ 12/24/2012 10:14 AM

Another victory for affirmative action. When you hire by race or gender instead of intelligence, sense, competence, this is exactly the sort of idiocy you can expect. In Los Angeles, virtually every officer involved in the horrendous Ramparts Div. scandal was an affirmative action hiree who would never have been hired on other than racial grounds.

Dad @ 12/24/2012 1:57 PM

Would you want your daughter treated that way ?....

Vixen63 @ 12/24/2012 2:06 PM

Jerry Sims are you serious? What Affirmative Action are you claiming here? It was a "male" trooper who called for the "female" trooper to conduct the search. And how, pray tell, does LA Rampart Scandal fit in this scenario? And what evidence do you have that "virtually every officer" involved in LA Rampart scandal was an "affirmative action hiree?" It seems to me that a person speaking so "matter-of-fact" about something they have no basis or evidence to back it up, is more of an individual lacking "intelligence, sense, and competence."

Vixen63 @ 12/24/2012 2:11 PM

Okay, I don't know who trained Texas Troopers because I know of no law that allows you to cavity search someone on the street because "you smelled weed" or because they are "acting weird" on the side of the road. If you think you have PC to conduct such a search then you should have PC to take them to your station, in an isolated holding tank, and conduct the search in private. They may be violators of the law but they still have rights, like it or not. Because they choose to stand on a public highway, in front of a video camera, to conduct a cavity search they have just opened up Texas PD to an enormous amount of liability. THINK PEOPLE.......and then as mentioned earlier, how the devil are you going to use the same gloves on both "suspects" without thinking twice about possibility of passing on an STD or whatever. Are you kidding me!!!

Tarfu @ 12/24/2012 4:05 PM

@John they were smoking cigarettes you Nazi!!!

John Russell @ 12/24/2012 4:19 PM

Unless police pull over a vehicle and rebelled against which hopefully escalate to all out civil war in USA then nothing will ever change for better of people..And when I mean civil war Imean actually escalation beyond full scale shootouts leading to National Guard leading to men coming from allover the USA armed into a State willing to kill or be killed leading to military revolts ie SYRIA in the USA NATION WIDE ..all over simple traffic stop...You COPs make think this sounds crazy but I think it sounds like REAL MEN die on their feet -----queers and cowards like today die on their KNEES!

JD @ 12/24/2012 10:25 PM

Good for these two women. So a bad attitude and throwing cigarette butts out the window justifies a cavity search? Not in the America I know. I'm in Afghanistan right now. They do whatever they want to do to suspects here. Let's leave it here and respect the rights of our citizens like we should, not by doing crap like this.

Searcher5 @ 12/24/2012 11:14 PM

John, they were smoking cigarettes, and that's what they were throwing out the window, which is what they were stopped for, littering on the roadway. So they were stupid for that, so they get a citation. Primary trooper says he thinks he smells some weed. That pungent stuff, you either do or don't smell it. So it goes downhill from there, all for the wrong reasons. No drugs were found in car or body. I'm glad the women were compliant. They deserve some good cash for this, and the two troopers should get some disciplinary action. If this had happened to my daughter, the trooper would be involved in a fist fight in front of his supervisor.

RLS @ 12/25/2012 1:14 PM

Being a LEO I have to admit this seems to an outrageous situation, I normally agree with the actions of most LEO but will never when I believe we / they are in the wrong. Its of my opinion that this is more than just wrong! these girls were violated! I saw or heard nothing other than a possible but faint odor of marijuana, never a reason for a cavity search! I will side with the ladies in this case!

DaveSAM5525G @ 12/25/2012 11:10 PM

Wrong approach on this one...Solution lies right here on the police web site the "Point of law series monthly or in magazine" by Devallis Rutledge...His books are also another great resource. I have several including the latest...I even saw this article in an overseas location that stated two female officer's using the same picture of the one- that performed the searching the females...guess they did not watch the Dash cam video either only one...

Dennis (retired CHP) @ 12/26/2012 9:56 PM

The law supports the stop, but not the invasive search. Me thinks the DPS officer must have been absent the day instructors discussed the 4th amendment at the academy as it applies to Terry stops; amazing. No offense to the local agency cops out there, but It surprised me TX DPS officers initiated the search as opposed to some local agency officers (in any state, including CA).

kim james @ 3/27/2013 4:56 PM

Is there not policy that if you feel you must do a cavity search it's done in the jail? Wouldn't you need a search warrant? How that whole scene was allowed to unfold is nuts. I hope everyone that was involved in the training of those two officers was also fired. This just pisses me off. Idiots in uniforms. Wow!

Mark @ 5/16/2013 6:46 PM

absolutely no one mentions the fact that the officer that was molesting the two ladies didn't even change gloves .......like what in d hell

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