Lawyers: Illegal body cavity searches of women standard policy at Texas traffic stops
Lawyer representing women who faced “unconstitutional” cavity searches of their genitals at traffic stops in Texas last year have said that the practice is essentially standard practice in many jurisdictions.
In two separate cases last year, four women said that they were humiliated with illegal cavity searches on the side of Texas highways. Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs were searched after a trooper saw them throw a cigarette butt out the car window. And Brandy Hamilton, 27, and Alexandria Randle, 26, were searched after a trooper claimed he smelled marijuana.
“It’s ridiculous,” Dallas attorney and former police officer Peter Schulte told The New York Daily News. “We would never put our hands anywhere near someone’s private parts… When I saw that video I was shocked. I was a law enforcement officer for 16 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I think the Department of Public Safety is trying to figure out who in the world trained these troopers to think that this is OK,” Schulte added. “The law just doesn’t support that. It just doesn’t.”
Texas Civil Rights Project Director Jim Harrington explained that the two incidents showed that there was “some sort of policy” within the department advocating body cavity searches.
“It’s such a prohibited practice,” Harrington said. “I don’t know why they think they can do this. It’s mind-boggling.”
Watch these dash cam videos of body cavity searches recorded in 2012.