In what might reasonably seem like a late arrival to the scene of basic common sense and human decency, this week the Texas State House unanimously approved a bill to require that a police “officer obtain a search warrant before conducting a body cavity search during a traffic stop.”
Not only is it sad that Texas is only just now saying police officers can’t stick their hands into your body by the side of the road at will, but it’s also disturbing that a bill like this needs to be passed at all. Yet in Texas, it is very much needed. Reason reports:
On Memorial Day in 2012, for instance, Alexandria Randle and Brandy Hamilton were driving home to Houston from Surfside Beach when they were pulled over for speeding on Highway 288 in Brazoria County. Claiming to smell marijuana, Trooper Nathaniel Turner ordered the women out of the car. After he found a small amount of pot in the car, Turner called a female trooper, Jennie Bui, and asked her to perform a body cavity search on both women. “If you hid something in there, we are going to find it,” Bui says on the dashcam video of the traffic stop. It turned out there was nothing to find. The stop ended with a ticket for possession of drug paraphernalia.
“It was extremely humiliating, especially with my entire family, including my 8-year-old nieces and my nephew …in the back of the car,” Randle told HLN. “They saw all of this happening, as well as everybody on the side of the road….I have a whole different feeling when I see police officers now….It’s a very touchy thing dealing with them.”
Unfortunately, that’s far from an isolated case. So here’s to seeing this bill on the governor’s desk ASAP.