Last week, you may recall that Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that two Texas state troopers subjected them to a flagrantly unconstitutional body cavity search. The Dobbses not only didn't consent to the search, but it was conducted on the side of a Texas highway--and it was conducted in a way that exposed them to any number of health risks. I diaried on this last Wednesday and last Thursday, but I'm reposting to keep this in the news and to put the pressure on state attorney general Greg Abbott to launch a criminal investigation. Sign this petition and keep the pressure on.
For those who missed it, here's some background. Back in July, the Dobbses were on their way to the WinStar Casino in Oklahoma when trooper David Ferrell pulled them over for throwing cigarette butts out of their car. Suspecting that the Dobbses had marijuana in their car, he called a female colleague, Kelley Helleson, to the scene to conduct a body cavity search. While Ferrell searched the car, Helleson searched both Angel, then Ashley. The Dobbses never consented to be searched or frisked, and there was no contingency that would have merited a search without their consent.
Now here's where it gets hideous. Helleson conducted the body cavity searches on the side of the highway, in full view of those driving by. Even worse, she used the same pair of gloves for both women, and in both cases went from anus to vagina. In doing this, Helleson put the Dobbses at astronomical risk for infection, and may have threatened their ability to have children. Ferrell's dashcam video captured the whole thing--watch it here (warning, NSFW).
The Dobbses filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety, but were told that they'd be charged with lying if they went through with it. They filed anyway, but the complaint went nowhere--prompting the lawsuit. According to the suit, Ferrell may have also stolen a bottle of one of Angel Dobbs' prescription medicines. In part due to the outcry generated last week, Helleson has been suspended with pay pending a new investigation, though Ferrell is still on duty at last report.
If anyone without a badge were to engage in this sort of behavior, they would be arrested for sexual assault and voyeurism. And if a cop were to do this to my girlfriend, I'd be screaming bloody murder and someone would have to hold me back.
The Dallas County DA has launched a public integrity probe that will be heard after the first of the year. But to my mind, these two troopers need to not only forfeit their badges, but go to prison. A criminal investigation by Abbott will go a long way towards making that happen, especially since there is no way in the world this is the first time for this outrage. Sign here.