Body cavity search results in suspension - not termination

Posted on Aug 10, 2013

Texas Department of Public Safety Jennifer Bui was rehired after a grand jury declined to indict her. She had initially been terminated for conducting a body cavity search of two females on the side of the road. She was rehired because it was determined she was following the directions of a supervisor Nathaniel Turner - on the scene who told her to conduct the search.

The two woman had been stopped for speeding. Turner said he smelled marijuana, and in an attempt to locate the suspected contraband told Bui to conduct the cavity search; apparently nothing was found.

You could probably guess that body cavity searches cannot be conducted on the side of the road. Generally. police must obtain warrant before taking such an invasive action. It's hard to believe any law enforcement officer could believe he could conduct search merely upon a hunch that the person might be concealing drugs. If all he knew was that he smelled mariuana, he wouldn't even have anough information to meet the probable cause standard for issuing a warrant.

The action taken against Bui was probably appropriate; she was young, and following the orders of her supervisor. Turner should be terminated, and was. The article doesn't say what happened to him, but it certainly appears there is enough evidence to charge him with assault, if not aggravated assault. They both are the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by women.

Police officers want our trust, and most of them act honorably and professionally and deserve. Officers like this however undermine that trust however. Even if you are suspect - even if you have committed a crime - you still have basic fundamental rights. Those rights must be observed if the public is to have any confidence in the justice system.

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