Trooper who conducted cavity search reinstated
AUSTIN — 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*.