IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas State Trooper who was thrust into the spotlight Tuesday after dash camera video showing her giving body cavity searches to two women became public has been suspended.
Trooper Kelly Helleson was suspended Wednesday, the day after the two women she searched as part of a traffic stop earlier this year sued her and another trooper for what they called a violation of their privacy.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, the state organization who State Troopers work for, say Helleson was put on paid suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident and the lawsuit.
DPS spokesperson Katherine Cesinger tells CBS 11 all troopers are “Obligated to act reasonably so as to comply with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution as well as the Texas Constitution and other applicable statutory provisions. Any search that unreasonably invades the bodily integrity of a citizen is in violation of the Fourth Amendment and is therefore in violation of DPS policy.”
Cesinger stressed Helleson hasn’t been accused of violating any policy, but that the matter is still under review.
The attorney for the women, Scott Palmer, said the suspension shows the DPS is taking action, but was still disappointed in the incident. “That shows me they’re being professional, but it’s still unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to get that that kind of attention, that remedial action to get her off the streets.”
The two women 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her niece, 24-year-old Ashley Dobbs, were pulled over in Irving on their way to Oklahoma by a male trooper after the trooper noticed the women tossing cigarette butts out the window of their car. That trooper, David Farrell, claimed to smell marijuana coming from the vehicle and requested the search by a female trooper.
Farrell remains on active duty.
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