Anyone who recalls the horrifying scene from the 2004 film “Crash” in which a police officer performed a “body cavity search” on an African American woman, during a traffic stop realizes just how much unchecked power the police can have. The thought was horrifying to all who watched the scene unfold in the movie. But this part of the plot was hardly the product of Hollywood imagination, it was based upon countless anecdotes from real life human beings who have been sexually assaulted in the same way by rogue police officers.
Recently, two dash cam videos have been leaked, clearly recording incidents like this. In one, Ashley Dobbs, 24, is shown being sexually assaulted by Texas state trooper Kelley Hellenson, who conducted body cavity searches on two women after a traffic stop for allegedly throwing cigarettes out of the car’s windows. No ticket was issued after the assault.
The first video was graphic enough. Two women, as shown in a Texas state trooper’s dash cam recording, are probed in their vaginas and rectums by a glove-wearing female officer after a routine traffic stop near Dallas. But this was only the first of two such incidents to be recently leaked.
A few days later, the New York Daily News broke the story on a second video which has now surfaced. It was the same story with new victims, but this time the traffic stop was just outside Houston, and with different troopers. Two women, pulled over for allegedly speeding, are subjected to body cavity searches by a female officer summoned to the scene by a male trooper.
Unlike the earlier tape, this one had clear audio. Yells can be heard as the female trooper shoves her gloved finger inside one woman.
In both invasive incidents, the female troopers don’t change gloves between probes, according to the horrified victims.
Under Texas law, defines this as sexual assaults and/or rape.
Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally or knowingly: (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
Nervous laughter can be heard during the probing, but it is clear that the women are helpless to resist the sexual assault. They do not think this is funny, but do not know any other way to respond other than to nervously laugh.
The officers involved in these sexual assaults have not been suspended. It is up to all of us to spread the word about this until public outrage changes that. These are, however, hardly isolated incidences.