2 women claim full cavity search by DPS Troopers on side of road
1 trooper terminated, 1 trooper suspended during investigation
Two women said they were heading home from the beach last Memorial Day when a DPS trooper pulled them over and gave them a full cavity search.
Brandy Hamilton and Alexandria Randle were on their way home to Houston from Surfside on Highway 288 on Memorial Day 2012 when their attorney said Trooper Nathaniel Turner pulled them over.
On the dash cam audio, the trooper can be heard saying, "The reason I stopped you is you were speeding today. Okay?"
The trooper said he smelled something.
"There is an odor of marijuana in the vehicle," he said on the recording. "I'm going to be searching the vehicle."
He then called for a woman to check the two women.
"Do you have a female deputy to check by my location to search these two females," de asked on the radio's recording,
The lawsuit showed Trooper Bui showed up and intimately checked the two women.
"You're going to go up my private parts," Hamilton asked Bui.
"Yes ma'am," said Bui. "That's why they called out a female."
On the tape, you can see the pain on Hamilton's face as she is searched.
Additionally, Turner claimed the searches were warranted.
"The passenger had her zipper open," he said. "So, I don't know if she stuck something in her crotch or this one did, but you can still smell it (marijuana)."
"It's not allowed. It's intrusive. It's against your constitutional rights. They have no right to do it under any circumstances unless you're at a jail," said attorney Allie Booker, who represents Hamilton and Randle. "With me being a lady, it's hard to think or imagine that you could be stopped for a traffic stop and basically be sexually assaulted on the side of the road by two police officers."
On the recording, Trooper Turner said he found a joint in Hamilton's car. He wrote her a ticket and gave her a warning for speeding. Hamilton and Randle were released 40 minutes after the traffic stop.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released this statement:
"Upon learning of this incident, the Department’s Inspector General immediately conducted an internal investigation, and Trooper Jennie Bui was subsequently terminated by DPS on June 29. Trooper Nathaniel Turner was suspended from duty on June 10, and remains suspended by the department pending the outcome of an internal investigation also being conducted by the DPS Office of Inspector General. According to DPS Director Steven McCraw, 'The department does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions or DPS training or policy.' As this case is pending litigation, we have no further information to provide."
The lawsuit claimed two Brazoria County deputies witnessed the cavity searches and worked on the case.
Local 2 called the sheriff's office for comment. The office said to check back on Wednesday for a response from the sheriff.