Texas State Troopers Sued Over “Roadside Cavity Search” In Search of Marijuana Possession

article-2250218-1692DF35000005DC-570_634x318-620x310There is a new disturbing video (below) showing police abuse this week. The video shows a Texas state trooper performing what was claimed to be a cavity search on the roadside on suspicion of possession of marijuana. It appears that while states like Colorado are legalizing marijuana, Texas is allegedly doing cavity searches to find someone in possession of weed. I guess it should be no surprise when you are driving on the George Bush Turnpike. The two women — Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24 — subject to the humiliating search are now suing the police.

The search occurred on July 13 when Angel Dobbs was driving her boyfriend’s car when troopers said they had spotted Dobbs throw a cigarette butt out the window. One of the troopers identified as officer David Ferrell began to question Dobbs about where she was going and then began to question her on possible use of marijuana. Both women denied having any weed.

A second trooper, Kelley Helleson, then arrived and stated that the two women were “acting weird” and needed to be searched. Farrell claimed that he smelled pot which was then apparently the probable cause for the search of the vehicle. Helleson then says that she will be searching their “persons” and Dobb’s asked what “person” meant. While the women were asked for consent, they suddenly found themselves the subjects of what appears a cavity search on the roadside. When Dodds objected, Farrell reportedly told her that is was justified by the odor in the car because “someone is a daily smoker in that car.”

Angel Dobbs claims that Helleson irritated a preexisting condition with the search, an anal cyst, that now causes her “severe and continuing pain and discomfort.”

What is truly astonishing is that this is all over the suspicion of pot use. It also suggests that the cigarette was another pretext for a stop. Many civil libertarians condemned the Supreme Court in its decision in Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996), where it refused to consider whether a stop was clearly based on a pretext in judging the constitutionality of the later search.

The case also shows how we continue to spend considerable resources and arrest thousands of people over marijuana use while a majority of people want such prosecutions to end.

I fail to see any probable cause for this abusive search, even under the ever-failing standards imposed by our Supreme Court.

Source: Daily Mail

68 thoughts on “Texas State Troopers Sued Over “Roadside Cavity Search” In Search of Marijuana Possession”

  1. He smelled pot. Whether at 35 miles an hour or at a stop, everything afterwards is justified. After all , he smelled pot though he didn’t find any. That’s the why of the female cop and digging deeper, after all, he smelled pot so it must be there.

    As for the cavity searches, officer safety. Those two women could have had cell phone guns hidden up there, forget the drugs. The cop could have been shot hauling them to jail…had to be sure he was safe just in case.

  2. I’m in a Cleveland suburb. I drive a lot for sales work. Never have I seen a Cleveland cop or Cuyahoga county sheriff wearing a seat belt. In fact, I’ve seen many of their cars with the belt buckled behind the seat to stay out of the way and to stop the alarm from driving them nuts. Yet they hand out seat belt tickets with abandon, yet they never arrest themselves.
    Anybody else?

  3. I would be highly suspicious of any stop made for someone throwing a cigarette, lit or not, out of a car window. I can tell you that in my area, the police don’t bat an eye at that kind of thing. I have seen litterers do it with on duty officers right behid their vehicles. If they truely gave a damn about that, you would not see so many butts on the sides of the road, particularly at intersections.

    There were other reasons for that stop, but those two officers should be fired and prosecuted.

  4. Generalized statements about being backward….. Generally fit in the natural nature of the speaker….. Unless of course they have specialized training…..

  5. The video shows what appears to be anal and vaginal rape of two women, probably would be called “sodomy” and rape by the criminal code of Texas. The female cop should be in jail right now charged with four heavy-duty felonies. The male trooper should be in jail right now awaiting trial on charges of procurement, conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and a dozen other charges including dereliction of duty because he did not act as a law enforcement officer when he witnessed citizens being raped alongside the road. And if Texans go along with spending more of their tax dollars for “suspension with pay” for these two criminals, they are stupid and corrupt.

  6. He’s just rousting citizens. He should have been off the force within 24 hours of that. He had no probable cause and he chose to beat up a citizen for having closed the window of his own vehicle.

  7. Trooper David Farrell has a history of abusive conduct and intimidation. This dashcam clip is only about 5 months old.

  8. OS:

    It surprises me that roadside sobriety checks are still legal in any state these days, that is ones that stop everybody. Washington’s supreme court ruled in the early 1980’s this was unconstitutional in that the state could not argue reasonable suspicion to stop all citizens on the suspicion of DWI just because they were driving on a public roadway. There had to be reasonable suspicion to stop, such as weaving and other indicators of a drunk driver.

    There is still one issue that is on the books here and a practice that it surprises me hasn’t been at least successfully challenged. When people are on watercraft such as passenger boats, LEOs can stop any boat and perform a equipment inspection to check for boater permit or that all persons on board are equipped with personal floatation devices. I have never agreed with this and my belief it was unconstitutional because a similar law granting the state patrol to perform a random equipment and license check for vehicles on public highways was declared to be unconstitutional thirty years or more ago. But with boaters, essentially stopped for the same thing, it continues.

  9. BettyKath contributed:

    DArren, “I don’t see it as being very different from a random civilian stranger with no legal authority to do this and an officer doing the same thing.”

    I see it as worse. The officer is doing it with badge enforcement. You can fight back with a stranger but not with a LEO (definition above) where you could get arrested for any number of charges depending on the creativity of the officer.
    ~+~

    You are correct it actually is worse. In fact, there is a federal law that deals with it. It is called Deprivation of Rights under Colour of Law. A criminal statute exists on the federal level

    Title 18 USC &sec; 242

    There is a civil cause for action under Title 42 USC &sec; 1983

    The latter most likely is enforceable here but I would say under Section 242 it could be worth investigating.

  10. Small correction, it was the first officer, Ferrell, who brought up the idea that the women were “acting weird”. It was his whole reason for calling the woman officer to the scene, to have her do the body cavity search. He had already made that decision when he called her on his radio. All of this was evident from the dashcam video I watched last night that was posted on DailyKos.

  11. “Disturbing”? Wrong word.

    Unsurprising.

    This is just another in a long line of abuses by the world’s largest street gang, one that operates with legal impunity and commit wanton acts of violence without fear of reprisals or accountability.

  12. Despite all the critical things that I have stated over time on this blog about Texas, I have had occasion to visit there and did some litigation there back in my prior life and found it to be a diverse and fun place. I like Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Austin is particularly diverse and not the stereotype that folks elsewhere have of Texas. In a few short years the demographics will bring the Democratic Party to control and the Rick Perry kind of dumb crap will be behind us. Those two twins from San Antonio are a piece of work–one is Mayor and the other in Congress..

    That lady cop must be bent.

  13. new texas state motto “smell my finger”

    check the oil for ya ma’am?

    free roadside prostate exams

    that constitutes a common law marriage in utah

    now i know why texas weed always tastes like $hit

  14. OS, There’s something about many men that makes them want to show, “‘I’me in charge” ala Al Haig. It’s even worse when you get a group of men who feed off each other..it’s like a posse of “We’re in charge”. It takes a judge to tell them they’re out of control and full o’ shit.

  15. Some years ago, in Rankin County, Mississippi, there was a sobriety check at the county line. Madison County to the north of Rankin County is wet, but at the time, Rankin County was dry. These sobriety checks were commonplace,and a good fundraiser for the county coffers.

    Seems these two fellows were returning from an afternoon on the lake, when they were stopped. One of them had a large Coke from McDonald’s and had finished his Coke. While the driver was talking to the deputy sheriff, the passenger poured his ice out on the side of the road, tossing the empty paper cup in the back seat. That upset the deputy no end, and he cited them for littering. They did not go quietly but demanded it be heard in open court. Naturally, they called the local news outlets who all showed up for “the trial of the century.” At the hearing, the two miscreants demanded the deputy produce the “evidence” of their littering. The judge was furious. He gave the deputy a dressing down that still echoes in the courthouse corridors. The judge opined that pouring ice on the side of a road on an August afternoon in Mississippi could not be considered littering by any stretch of the imagination.

  16. Shameful and disgusting on so many levels!! OK–the trooper went from backside first and then to front with the same glove on the first woman, then used that same glove for the outside the shirt bra search on the second woman, and then did that woman’s backside first, and then her front all with the same glove. How many unsanitary and/or dangerous points can you spot in this scenario? And then the video shows the trooper walking away with the glove still on her hand. I can only hope the next thing she did with that glove was to pick her own teeth.

  17. I couldn’t find this clip in my hurried morning. The ten commandments popped up and I used it. I rather hastily commented. I only meant half of texas. :o) ……… Here is Billy Jacks opinion of LEOs breaking the Law.

  18. I was shocked that the police anywhere, would do a body cavity search on anyone suspected of pot possession, especially on a road side! I hope the civil suit is successful and the State Troopers have to dig deep into their own pockets.

  19. DArren, “I don’t see it as being very different from a random civilian stranger with no legal authority to do this and an officer doing the same thing.”

    I see it as worse. The officer is doing it with badge enforcement. You can fight back with a stranger but not with a LEO (definition above) where you could get arrested for any number of charges depending on the creativity of the officer.

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