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DPS Reinstates Trooper Fired After Controversial Cavity Search

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The radio and belt of a Highway Patrol trooper. (credit: AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

The radio and belt of a Highway Patrol trooper. (credit: AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — 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.”

A similar incident happened last summer in Irving.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) settled a lawsuit with two women from Irving who filed a lawsuit claiming they were humiliated and the victims of an illegal “cavity search”, during a traffic stop last July.

McCraw said the she 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.

A dash-cam video showed Bui’s supervisor Nathaniel Turner ordering her to internally probe two women on the side of the road in a search for contraband. Turner had stopped them for speeding and said he could smell marijuana in their car. The video shows one of the women wincing as Bui conducted the search.

“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.”

The women filed a federal lawsuit against DPS and the troopers for the unlawful invasion of their privacy.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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