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Texas Women Sue Department of Public Safety over Searches

Two women have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety in which they claim a Texas state trooper wrongfully subjected them to a "painful and humiliating" cavity search after they were pulled over on a highway in Dallas. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is the director of the state DPS, whom the plaintiffs accuse of tolerating years of illegal strip searches and other forms of officer misconduct.

The pair was pulled over after a state trooper claims to have seen one of them throw a cigarette from their vehicle's window. The trooper began writing a citation for littering, at which time he allegedly smelled the scent of cannabis. The women and the car were both found not to contain any drugs and neither woman faced criminal charges.

Although the women stressed that they did not have cannabis in their possession, the officer refused to believe them and called for a female state trooper to conduct a cavity search. According to the lawsuit, the female trooper conducted an invasive and painful strip search on both women within full view of passing motorists. The plaintiffs say the trooper failed to accurately describe the extent of the search before beginning and did not replace her rubber gloves between searches. The women say the trooper deflected any questions they asked about the test.

One of the women said she felt the incident has had a persistent and detrimental effect on her life, adding that she was forced to watch helplessly as her passenger underwent the same thing. The women's attorney said the search violated their constitutional rights and argued that a lawsuit is necessary to prevent similar police misconduct in the future.

Source: Reason.com, "Texas DPS Sued Over Painful and Humiliating Cavity Searches," Rachel Moran, Dec. 19, 2013

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