Last year, on Memorial Day weekend, while we were supposed to be celebrating the men and women who fight to protect this great nation of ours, two black women were unnecessarily harassed by a police officer. During a speeding violation, a police officer performed body cavity searches on the two women on the side of the 288 highway in Brazoria County Texas.
This past weekend, the two women started speaking out what they both describe as embarrassing experience and about their intent to file a federal lawsuit against the three officers involved in the situation.
Two Texas women, Brandy Hamilton and Alexandria Randle were driving in Brazoria County Texas after returning from Surfside beach. They were speeding and were pulled over by an officer. The officer smelled marijuana and asked the women to step out of the car. The women, still in their bikinis asked if they could put some clothes on before they got out of the car. The officer said no. He searched the car and found a butt of marijuana.
At that point, he suspected that the women were hiding more drugs. So he called for a female officer to perform body cavity searches on both women. The woman who searched them did not change gloves in between searches. Instead, she had the lay on their sides in a squad car on the side of the road. They didn’t find anything on the women.
Jennie Bui, the female trooper has been fired. The male trooper Nathaniel Turner has been suspended while the department conducts an internal investigation.
Director of the department, Steven McCraw, released this statement in response to the incident: “The department does not and will not tolerate any conduct that violates the U.S. and Texas constitutions, or DPS training or policy.”
Hamilton and Randle are filing a federal lawsuit for pain and suffering for an undisclosed amount of money. They say they want to send a message in hopes that this type of violation doesn’t happen anywhere else.
Clearly, the woman shouldn’t have been smoking weed. But searching body cavities is not the type of “punishment” that fits this crime. It wasn’t coke and since there was only a small amount in the car. what would make the officer believe they would be hiding more in their private parts?! Despicable. Having your body probed like that is one of the most degrading experiences a person can endure, especially on the side of a highway! These officers essentially reduced these women to animals. This is just another incident where we see how black women’s bodies are disrespected and disregarded as less than human. While the department has taken the right step in firing the female officer who conducted the search, they should also fire the man who called for back up in the first place.
I don’t see this faring well in court but I wish them the best because this truly was excessive.
You can watch the traffic stop and body search and the women tell their side of the story on the following pages.