Trooper who conducted cavity search reinstated

Trooper who conducted cavity search reinstated

Texas DPS SealAUSTIN — The Texas Department of Public Safety reinstated a state trooper on Friday that it fired for conducting a roadside cavity search during a traffic stop for speeding.

DPS Director Steve McCraw said he was rehiring Trooper Jennie Bui after a grand jury chose not to indict her for the incident in Brazoria County that has triggered a lawsuit by the two women involved.

“It was determined that the relatively inexperienced trooper was directed by a more senior trooper to conduct the inappropriate search,” McCraw said in a statement issued late Friday afternoon. “While the actions of Trooper Bui constitute misconduct, I believe her actions are mitigated such that she should not be terminated from the agency.”

Bui was fired and another was suspended for their roles in a full cavity search last year of two Houston woman along Texas 288, the Houston Chronicle reported on July 3. Houston Chronicle

You can make *book* on this; Texas is about to make these women financially independent pretty soon. I would be shocked if it didn’t turn out that way.

All things considered, I can’t say that I object to it either.

Now I know that some of you are going to say, “But Fred, you’re a big-time Police supporter and you have that Police tribute site on Facebook and all, how can you be OK with these women getting a lot of money from the state of Texas over this roadside cavity search?”

Well, you see, there’s a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to do things, and a roadside cavity search is about as wrong as wrong can get. There’s a time and a place for everything, but a roadside is NOT the place for this type of search.

Read this from the folks at PoliceOne:

Officers are covered by applicable U.S. Supreme Court case law — even if there’s not probable cause for an arrest, all you need is reasonable suspicion for a Terry pat down.

For a Terry pat down — not a body-cavity search.

To my knowledge — and I encourage correction in the comments below if I’m wrong — there isn’t a jurisdiction in America in which a roadside body-cavity search falls within agency policy, including Texas DPS.

DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a written statement that the department “does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions or DPS training or policy.” PoliceOne.com

For those that may not know, a Terry search is a justifiable protective search for weapons, even in the absence of probable cause to arrest, where there is a suspicion that an individual is armed and dangerous.

To say it plainly; it’s basically a *pat down*, nothing more.

“Then Defendant Turner tells Plaintiff Hamilton ‘she is about to get up-close and personal with some womanly parts,’ ” the lawsuit states. Turner told Hamilton, “She (Bui) is going to search you, I ain’t, because I ain’t about to get up-close and personal with your woman areas … she is going to put some gloves on.”

Bui conducted the full cavity search on both women with the same pair of gloves, according to the lawsuit.

OK, the professionalism of this Texas DPS Trooper is, in MY opinion, far from where it needs to be, and apparently his knowledge of *search and seizure* may leave a lot to be desired as well, but Trooper Bui went ahead and did as she was told and conducted the search.

In all fairness, I don’t know if Trooper Turner actually ordered Trooper Bui to conduct this search or if he just indicated that she should, I just don’t know, but ANY Officer in the field KNOWS this; you do NOT accept nor follow orders that are illegal or suspected of being illegal.

Speaking for ME only, I was disgusted by the fact that the cavity search was conducted on the side of the road, and even more disgusting, conducted on BOTH women with the same pair of gloves. If Trooper Bui didn’t realize that she was conducting an illegal search and was also wrong to use the same gloves on both women, Trooper Bui is indeed in need of some more training in procedures, severely in need.

McCraw said Friday that Bui will be suspended for 60 days and undergo additional training. He added that he was requiring all state police officers to re-familiarize themselves with the department policy on strip searches and body cavity searches.

“Trooper Turner’s conduct was unacceptable, and violated DPS policy and was outside any authorized training provided to Trooper Turner by DPS,” McCraw said. “DPS holds its employees to the highest standards, and we will continue to take immediate action in any instance of misconduct to ensure our employees are held accountable.”

Yet the fact remains; Trooper Bui is being rehired and Trooper Turner is still *suspended*.

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11 Responses to Trooper who conducted cavity search reinstated

  1. Dick Robie says:

    The firing was fair. She took training and had to know it was wrong. I find it disgusting. Both officers should have been fired and stayed fired if for no other reason to demonstrate that the action was unacceptable.

  2. Hgpsurf says:

    These troopers are very lucky I am not their boss….enough said!

  3. Fred you know my position on this…ok they lack knowledge of the policy and procedure manual…which you can learn…I have found being a LEO for 28 years…it is IMPOSSIBLE I repeat…..IMPOSSIBLE to learn one of the most valuable traits of performing your job to the high standards expected and that is …..COMMON SENSE….you either have it or you don’t..

    Maybe I’m wrong…just my opinion!!

  4. Bunkerville says:

    Inexperience is no justification for the behavior. It represents the larger social norm developing now that respect for the individual is subservient to the “state” .

    • TexasFred says:

      Subservient to the “state”?

      Seriously?

      Look, I am NOT seeing the outcome to this I would have liked to see but *THE STATE* didn’t do this, 2 dumb asses in the field did.. They are being penalized, BY THE STATE, not to a degree that satisfies a lot of folks, me included, but they are suffering the consequences of their actions..

  5. abigail says:

    If a policewoman tried to do something like that to me, I can tell you I would not have let them. I can’t understand why they didn’t protest and refuse. I mean, come on, a cavity search (even the term is objectionable) at the roadside? And they just meekly said okay? I know I would have pitched a fit and let the chips fall where they may.

  6. mrchuck says:

    The probing search into a female’s vagina or anus cavity at a roadside vehicle stop is absolutely prohibited by any law enforcement entity in the United States.

    Any patrol officer that violates the above shall be remanded to office duty until all facts and reports are investigated.
    If the officer doing this is found at fault, punishment by state law will be enacted and followed.

    Now, I have been an “active officer” with the DEA and BNDD in arrests, take-downs, etc where the frisking and pat-downs were done many times, but always the perpetrators who were involved in holding, carrying, possessing, making, etc were always brought to a clinic or holding facility where a trained nurse, tech did the exam, removal.
    Any thing else is dereliction of duty.

  7. Frankly, you simply do not do that in that environment.

    Encounters with LE go in this fashion:

    1. Consensual encounters;
    2. Reasonable suspicion;
    3. Probable cause

    No matter what state, you do not conduct roadside searches of this depth.

    Would you want YOUR daughter to be subject to this?

    BZ

  8. After the fiasco in Edgewater, Co. That did, btw, make national news? There simply was no excuse for this. Lack of knowledge? Preposterous…
    Hell, we were taught about this clear back in 75 when I did POST in California.

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