Two women have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Texas State Troopers of humiliating them by performing illegal and highly invasive body cavity searches on the side of a highway after they were pulled over for tossing a cigarette butt from their car.
CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth reports that Angel Dobbs, 38, and her 24-year-old niece Ashley Dobbs were pulled over in July on Highway 161 for allegedly throwing a cigarette butt from the window of their car while on a road trip to Oklahoma. State Trooper David Farrell, the officer who made the stop, claimed he smelled marijuana and conducted a search.
Having found nothing, Farrell called in a female trooper, identified by the Dallas Morning News as Kelley Helleson, who told the women to "shut up" as she donned latex gloves and proceeded to perform an extremely invasive body cavity search on the women to determine if they were hiding anything illegal inside their bodies.
Police dashcam video shows Helleson inserting her fingers in the vaginas and rectums of both women in full view of passing traffic.
"At this point, I'm in clear shock. I can't even believe this is happening," Angel Dobbs told CBS. "Turns me around, goes down the front of my pants into my inner thigh at which point she just goes up with two fingers. I just look at her and say, 'oh my God, I've just been violated."
"I was molested. I was violated. I was humiliated," Angel said.
Helleson then did the same thing to Ashley Dobbs-- without changing her gloves.
"She went down, then turned me around, and went down my front and then she actually dug," Ashely told CBS. "I don't know what I could say, what I could do. I felt hopeless."
Not satisfied, the troopers then made the women take a field sobriety test, which they passed. They were cited for littering and released.
The troopers also allegedly took a bottle of Vicodin that had been legally prescribed.
One of the women can be heard on the police audio recording expressing her shock at the way she had just been treated.
"This has been a real eye-opening experience for me. I've never been pulled over, I've never been searched like that... I had a finger in my ass, I had a finger in my pussy... this is totally embarrassing," she says. Trooper Farrell then chalks the whole episode up to the fact that the car smelled like it belonged to a "daily smoker."
The women filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), where they were told they would be charged with lying if they filed an affidavit. DPS claims to have "conducted an inquiry surrounding the events" and forwarded its findings to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
DPS has announced that Trooper Helleson has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation. The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said the case is being probed by the public integrity division and will go before a grand jury in January.