Dallas Roadside Body Search by DPS Troopers Now Subject to Federal Lawsuit – Shocking Video of Dallas Roadside Search of Two Innocent Women
Over the years, we’ve monitored law enforcement in traffic stops and we’ve posted about bad things that have happened on Texas roadways, things like these dashcam video captures of law enforcement doing wrong (these aren’t the only examples we’ve found, check out our “Cop Watch” section in the sidebar for more):
- the Lufkin police officer who pulled over senior citizen Tracey Lott as Mr. Lott was racing his buddy Johnny Hodge to the hospital (where Mr. Hodge was hospitalized for blood pressure and respiratory problems). The Lufkin officer is caught on his own dashcam as he ignores the distress of Mr. Hodge there in the vehicle, and instead draws his weapon on Mr. Lott, handcuffs the elderly gentleman, and throws him into the squad car;
- the Dallas police officers who were videotaped as they chased Andrew Joseph Collins in South Dallas, caught him, and then beat the man with their fists as well as their batons; and
- the Travis County Constable (that’s the Austin area) who was filmed using a stun gun (Taser) not once but two times on a 72 year old woman during a traffic stop.
However, the latest dashcam video that has been making the news media rounds this week is perhaps the most astonishing yet: and no surprise to most criminal defense attorneys here in Texas, it’s now the basis of a lawsuit filed against the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and others involved in this horrific disregard for the rights of ordinary citizens driving along Texas roads.
Irving Traffic Stop Dashcam Video Shows Intrusive and Embarassing Roadside Cavity Search of Two Women Now Basis of Lawsuit
Back in July, Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley, 24, were driving along Highway 161, going north, when they were pulled over by a Texas DPS Trooper named David Ferrell. On the video (see it below), DPS Trooper Farrell claims to have pulled the car over because he saw a cigarette butt being tossed out of the car window and that he called DPS Trooper Kelley Helleson to assist him after he allegedly smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle.
No marijuana, nor any other drugs, were ever found in their car. Moreover, the two women both denied using drugs or knowing anything about any drugs, or having any drugs including marijuana in their possession, custody, or control.
It didn’t matter what they said. As you can see from the dashcam video, Trooper Kelley Helleson performs a cavity search on these two women during a routine traffic stop here in Dallas, Texas, there on the side of the road. The video tells the story and the lawsuit is clear: the two women are now seeking damages for what they are describing as a painful and humiliating cavity search. Angel and Ashley Dobbs have sued Troopers Helleson and Farrell as well as Steven McCraw in his official capacity as Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
You can read the complaint that they filed in federal court online with all its details of what these women experienced — again, there on the side of a Dallas roadway.
The dashcam video is here (WARNING: THIS IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE):
Ten Things to Know In Case Your Car is Pulled Over in Texas
Here, from the Resources section of the DallasJustice.com web site are ten things to know about when law enforcement in the State of Texas pull your vehicle over:
- Your car cannot be pulled over by the police without a reason. Law enforcement cannot stop your vehicle on a whim. They can’t pull you over just to look at your driver’s license and registration. Under the law, the law enforcement officer must have a reasonable belief that there has been either a violation of traffic laws or some other crime.
- Once stopped, you are under no legal duty to tell the officer anything other than your name and your home address. That’s it.
- You should have the proper stickers on the windshield of your car and your vehicle should be in good working condition. You can be legally stopped if a turn signal isn’t working, or you’ve gone past the month/year deadline on your state windshield sticker.
- You can ask to have your attorney with you for questioning at any time a law enforcement officer is asking you questions.
- You do not have to agree to any tests of your physical condition. There is no legal requirement that you do any breath tests, field sobriety tests, or blood tests. None.
- If things are getting complicated with the officer, stay calm. Use good manners. Ask for your lawyer, politely and firmly. Make sure you have the officer’s badge number.
- Your home cannot be entered by the law enforcement officer even if he’s stopped your car right out front. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has lots of protections for the homes of Americans. Exception: if you invite the officer inside. Another exception: the police have legal justification to do so (say, someone screams “help” from inside the home or there’s an explosion or other imminent danger signal).
- If your car is stopped then start watching the clock. Law enforcement cannot hold you there on the side of the road for an extended period of time. If things are taking too long, get your lawyer on the line.
- It’s not legal to drive under the speed limit, just over. You should not be stopped by law enforcement if you are driving less than the posted speed limit. That’s not suspicious behavior that justifies someone being pulled over under the law.
- It’s not legal to block your car or otherwise prevent your vehicle from moving forward once you’ve been pulled over. Law enforcement officers cannot restrict your freedom to leave after their pulled you over by parking in front of you or otherwise creating a barrier.
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