Two Texas women sue troopers over ‘unconstitutional’ roadside body cavity search

By Kay Steiger
Thursday, July 4, 2013 12:39 EDT
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Brandy Hamilton and Alexandria Randle sue over Texas trooper body cavity search
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Two Texas women announced this week that they were suing Texas state troopers over an unconstitutional roadside body cavity search that occurred on Memorial Day in 2012 caught by dashcam footage, according to Texas news station KHOU.

Brandy Hamilton, 27, and Alexandria Randle, 26, said they on their home to Houston from Surfside beach wearing bikinis when a trooper pulled them over on Texas 288 for speeding. The Houston Chronicle reported that the suit names Trooper Nathaniel Turner, who claimed he smelled marijuana in the car and called a female trooper even though a “search and seizure was highly unreasonable.” The suit also names the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, responding officer Brazoria County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Kindred and the Brazoria County sheriff.

In dashcam footage, Hamilton can be heard saying “Do you know how violated I feel?” to Trooper Jennie Bui as she was searched.

Randle said that the she only had one glove that was used to search both of them. “She just came right over and there was no switch out of anything — which is disgusting,” Randle said at a Wednesday press conference recorded by KHOU.

The Chronicle published a statement on Wednesday from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS):

Upon learning of this incident, the Department’s Inspector General immediately conducted an internal investigation, and Trooper Jennie Bui was subsequently terminated by DPS on June 29 (2013). Trooper Nathaniel Turner was suspended from duty on June 10 (2013), and remains suspended by the department pending the outcome of an internal investigation also being conducted by the DPS Office of Inspector General.

DPS Director Steven McCraw told the Chronicle that the agency “does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions or DPS training or policy.” The Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.

“The police are there to protect and serve,” Hamilton said during the press conference. “They did not protect me at all.”

Texas troopers faced similar charges of an unauthorized body cavity roadside search in 2012 when two women, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs, were subjected to such a search. The Dobbs case was settled in June for $185,000.

Watch the video report, broadcast by KHOU on July 3.

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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