Investigate Texas state troopers who conducted roadside body cavity search

  • by: Darrell Lucus
  • target: Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

On July 13, 2012; Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, were pulled over on State Highway 13 near Carrollton, Texas by Texas state trooper David Ferrell for throwing cigarrette butts out of their car window.  Ferrell then called fellow state trooper Kelley Helleson to the scene to conduct a body cavity search, saying that he suspected the Dobbses were using marijuana.  While Ferrell searched the vehicle, Helleson searched first Angel, then Ashley--in full view of Ferrell and those who happened to be driving by.  She also used the same set of gloves for both women.  After both searches failed to turn up any evidence of illegal drugs, the Dobbses were let off with citations for littering.  Afterward, the Dobbses discovered that Ferrell hadn't returned one of Angel Dobbs' prescription medicines.

The Dobbses never consented to being searched or frisked, and there was no evidence of any contingency that would have merited a search.  Moreover, as the dashcam video (obtained by KXAS-TV in Fort Worth) shows, Helleson not only used the same set of gloves for both women, but searched both women's anuses before searching their vaginas.  In doing this, Helleson exposed the Dobbses to astronomical risk of infection and potentially endangered their ability to have children.

The Dobbses have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Ferrell and Helleson.  Helleson has been suspended with pay pending investigation, and the Dallas County district attorney has launched a public integrity investigation.  However, this doesn't go far enough.  If private citizens were to engage in the conduct that Ferrell and Helleson engaged in (based on the dashcam video), they would have been arrested for sexual assault and voyeurism.  Moreover, given how brazen this was, it is inconceivable that this is the first time for such conduct.

All told, this is one of the most outrageous instances of police misconduct and police brutality in recent memory.  The only way that the Dobbses can get justice and the public can get some answers is for Attorney General Abbott to open a criminal investigation into Ferrell and Helleson's actions.

Dear Mr. Attorney General:


I am writing to urge you to mount a full investigation of Texas State Troopers David Ferrell and Kelley Helleson's decision to conduct a body cavity search of Angel and Ashley Dobbs on July 13, 2012.  Ferrell pulled the Dobbses over on State Highway 13 near Carrollton for throwing cigarrette butts out of their car.  He asked for Helleson to conduct the search after suspecting the Dobbses had marijuana in their vehicle.  While Ferrell searched the vehicle, Helleson searched the Dobbses--using the same pair of gloves for both women, and in full view of Ferrell and anyone who happened to be driving by.


The Dobbses never consented to being searched or frisked.  Moreover, Helleson not only used the same set of gloves for both women, but searched both women's anuses before searching their vaginas.  In doing this, Helleson exposed the Dobbses to astronomical risk of infection and potentially endangered their ability to have children.


If private citizens were to engage in the behavior that Ferrell and Helleson engaged in, they would be arrested for sexual assault and voyeurism.  Moreover, given how brazen this was, it is inconceivable that this is the first time for such conduct.  This appears to be a flagrant violation of the Dobbses' rights under both the U.S. and Texas constitutions.  Therefore, for the sake of restoring public confidence, you must launch a full criminal investigation into Ferrell and Helleson's conduct.

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