Two women are suing the Texas Department of Public Safety after being subjected to full cavity searches on the side of a state highway by Texas troopers, a measure their attorneys say was humiliating and illegal.
The incident occurred in 2012 as Alexandria Randle and Brandy Hamilton were returning from the beach on Memorial Day. They were stopped for speeding and the officer reportedly claimed that he smelled marijuana in the car. He ordered them to step out of the vehicle. One of the women, still in a bathing suit, asked to put on a dress but was told, “No, don’t worry about it.” The Root reports:
The male trooper did find a small amount of marijuana in the car, according to HLN, and decided to call in a female officer to conduct a full body cavity search on the women.
“If you hid something in there, we are going to find it,” the female officer could be heard saying in the video.
“You are going to go up my private parts?” one of the women could be heard asking in disbelief in the video.
“Yes, ma’am,” the officer responded matter-of-factly.
Randle claims that, since the officer did not have gloves of her own, she had to borrow a glove from another officer and did not change it between the searches, something Randle called “very unsanitary and just really hurtful.” No additional drugs were found in the search.
“It was extremely humiliating, especially with my entire family, including my 8-year-old nieces and my nephew … in the back of the car, and they saw all of this happening, as well as everybody on the side of the road,” Randle told HLN. “I have a whole different feeling when I see police officers now..It’s a very touchy thing dealing with them. Read more.
The attorney for one of the women told HLN that officers are not even allowed to conduct cavity searches at the jail. “It’s alarming to me. I actually cannot believe that they actually did it,” she said.
For what it’s worth, the male officer who initiated the incident was fired after. The female officer, however, was merely placed on a 60-day suspension without pay after a grand jury decided not to indict her for the search.