Two women claim they were molested during a body cavity search on the side of the road. They are now suing the Texas Department of Public Safety and its officers.
Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley Dobbs, were stopped along Highway 161 in July.
"My name is Trooper Ferrell. I work for the highway patrol. Reason for the contact is I watched both of you throw cigarettes out," the trooper said according to dash cam video.
The women explained they were on a road trip heading to a casino in Oklahoma. The trooper said he smelled marijuana in the car.
"How much marijuana is in that car? And don't lie to me," he said.
The women denied having any marijuana. The trooper didn't believe them and called for a female officer to search them.
Angel Dobbs and her niece said the search happened on the side the road and in front of the camera. Video shows the female officer's hand on their breasts and down the back and front of both women's pants.
She did not change plastic gloves between the searches, the women said.
"We believe that he pretextually made it up, fabricated it. There was no marijuana smell," said Scott Palmer, their attorney.
"I was molested. I was violated. I was humiliated in front of other traffic. I had to witness my niece go through the same thing," Angel Dobbs said.
"This has been an eye-opening experience for me, okay? Never been pulled over, never searched like this. It's… I mean, I was like totally violated over there a few minutes ago. I had a finger in my *** and a finger in my ****, and this is so embarrassing to me," she said on the dash cam video.
"It's because someone's a daily smoker in that car, okay. And you can attribute it to that," the trooper replied.
Attorney Pete Schulte, a former cop who is not associated with the case, said he can't determine just by looking at the video if the search went to the point of the women being violated.
"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," he said.
Other law enforcement sources agreed that these types of searches don't happen out in public, but the women claim it did happen to them.
"I don't know what I could say or what I could do. I felt hopeless," Ashley Dobbs said.
While the department does not discuss cases with pending litigation, it does acknowledge the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry and turned those findings over to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
The case is expected to go before a grand jury.
KDFW FOX 4
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