A Texas state trooper has been suspended with pay, officials said Wednesday, after two women claimed they were subjected to intimate body cavity searches at the roadside in full view of the public.
The two women, from Irving, Texas, are suing two state troopers and the director of the Department of Public Safety, alleging they were violated during what they call an unconstitutional search on State Highway 161 on July 13.
Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs were stopped for littering by Trooper David Farrell.
In a dashcam video released by the women and their attorney, Farrell can be heard telling the women they would both be cited for throwing cigarette butts out of the car.
Farrell called for a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, to come to the scene and began to ask questions about what he described as “an odor of marijuana” coming from the car, according to the video. Angel Dobbs denied smoking marijuana, and said she had borrowed the car.
After Helleson arrived, she can be seen in the video putting on blue latex gloves to conduct a search of both women. According to the lawsuit, when Angel Dobbs asked about the gloves, Helleson "told her not to worry about that."
In the lawsuit, Dobbs said the trooper conducted the cavity search on the roadside, illuminated by the police car's headlights, in full view of any passing motorists.
"This has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've never been pulled over, never searched like this. I was totally violated over there a few minutes ago... this is so embarrassing to me," Angel Dobbs said on the video.
"I've never been so humiliated or so violated or felt so molested in my entire life," Angel Dobbs told NBCDFW.com.
The lawsuit further alleges that Helleson performed the searches on both women without changing the latex gloves between searches.
"I don't think anybody needs to have to feel, or go through what we went through," Ashley Dobbs said. "It crosses my mind every day. It's humiliating," she said.
The Department of Public Safety told NBCDFW.com that Helleson had been suspended with pay.
There had been no other suspensions as of Wednesday night, NBCDFW.com reported.
No narcotics or contraband was found, according to the lawsuit.