Throwing a cigarette butt out the window in Texas is considered littering, punishable by a fine. It's absolutely no excuse for law officers to conduct a cavity search, much less on a public road, using the same glove on two women.
But that’s exactly what Texas troopers did, say two Irving women, and Raw Story has posted an official dashcam video that strongly supports their claims. It clearly shows a female officer probing inside the front and back of both women’s pants without changing her gloves. Also the audio records the male officer’s absurd response to one victim‘s protests: “It’s because someone’s a daily smoker in that car,” he said, “You can attribute it to that.”
The women’s attorney said the officers “displayed a callous and reckless regard” for their “Constitutional rights and their safety” - which is an understatement.
On top of these outrageous searches, the Dept of Safety, accused of ignoring a pattern of such abuse, allegedly threatened the women with lying when they tried to file a complaint.
Tell Texas Troopers to stop assaulting women and the Attorney General to investigate all evidence of illegal cavity searches.
We, the undersigned, are extremely outraged by Texas troopers' violation of these women. There is neither justification for Texas Highway Patrol to allow this criminal behavior nor for the Dept of Safety to respond as it did to the complaints.
To have conducted any cavity search without justification is horrendous enough, but to do so in public, violating all health and safety concerns, is almost beyond comprehension, especially in a country that prides itself on its protection of freedom and civil rights.
Fox News 4 reports that a former cop and now an attorney, Pete Schulte, said he could not determine by viewing the video alone that the search sexually violated the women, however, he told Fox, "'If they did go that far then that becomes aggravated sexual assault because with the fourth amendment and with my years as police and in my years as an attorney and training at the police academy this would not happen.’”
Not only did troopers commit this, at the very least questionable search, without justification or apology to the victims, these women were reportedly threatened with charges of “lying” when they tried to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The women have included Steven McCraw, director of the Dept of Safety, in the lawsuit, reports KVUE, "for being aware of a long standing pattern of police misconduct involving unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like, yet [failing] to take corrective action."
This response suggests that the corruption among State Troopers goes beyond this agency to those that should be regulating it. Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency that heads the highway patrol, apparently did not respond to the women’s claims of its alleged threats, however they told Fox that “the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry and turned those findings over to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.” But the Texas Rangers are also affiliated with the Texas Department of Safety.
Although Dallas Morning News says an investigation by Dallas County District Attorney’s office of public integrity will go before a grand jury next month, these atrocities warrant an investigation from outside the Dept of Safety.
All agencies involved in this criminal conduct should face the most stringent penalties allowed by law, along with an investigation by Texas Attorney General.
We request a full investigation of these violations of health, human rights and common decency.
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