A woman in Texas made a startling claim earlier this week accusing a Texas state trooper of raping her during a DWI arrest, but a newly released body camera footage has exposed her claims as lies and prompted her high-profile lawyer to issue a public apology.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement on Tuesday that just after 1.30am on Sunday, Texas highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Hubbard saw a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu traveling south on Interstate 35 in Ellis County and pulled the vehicle over for a traffic violation.
During the traffic stop, Hubbard arrested the driver, identified as 37-year-old Sherita Dixon-Cole, of Grapevine, on a charge of driving while intoxicated and took her to the Ellis County Jail.
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt representing Dixon-Cole said on Monday that the trooper offered to let her go during a field sobriety test in exchange for sexual favors.
After the women declined Hubbard’s advances, he groped her and forced something into her vagina, Merritt claimed.
The lawyer called the arrest ‘prolonged’ and said the assault took place inside and outside the police vehicle.
The story was picked up by several news site and bloggers, chief among them the New York-based activist and writer for The Intercept Shaun King, who tweeted about Dixon-Cole’s alleged ordeal.
‘This woman was kidnapped & raped by a Texas State Trooper – OFFICER HUBBARD,’ he wrote in his original tweet, which has since been deleted from his page. ‘She is now being held hostage in Ellis County Jail.’
King claimed that Dixon-Cole passed field sobriety tests, but Hubbard decided to arrest her anyway because he didn’t like her ‘attitude. He also quoted the trooper as telling the woman: ‘why don’t you just give me some of that sweet p***y you have been given [sic] your fiance and then you can go home.’
None of the allegations made by the woman through her lawyer and Shaun King are seen in the body camera video.
The recording shows Dixon-Cole, dressed in a skin-tight, electric-blue two-piece outfit and a red beret, smiling at the arresting officer during
Ellis County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald said Dixon-Cole was booked into the county jail at 4.58am on Sunday and has been released on bail. Fitzgerald said she was taken to a local hospital after reporting she was assaulted.
The Texas Department of Public Safety pushed back on the woman’s claims of sexual assault and official misconduct, calling her accusations ‘spurious and false.’
DPS officials reviewed body camera footage from the traffic stop and concluded that the video ‘shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations’ against Trooper Hubbard.
‘The Department is appalled that anyone would make such a despicable, slanderous and false accusation against a peace officer who willingly risks his life every day to protect and serve the public,’ the agency’s statement read.
The Ellis County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the full video clocking in at 1 hour, 54 minutes, and signed off on its release to the public via (click to link) YouTube.
Merritt released a statement on Wednesday morning on Facebook addressing the release of the bodycam video.
‘The body camera footage released directly conflicts with the accounts reported to my office,’ he wrote. ‘There is no readily apparent evidence of tampering with the footage.’
Merritt said ‘it is deeply troubling when innocent parties are falsely accused’ and he is truly sorry for any trouble these claims may have caused to Hubbard and his family.
The lawyer stressed that the trooper appeared to have conducted himself professionally during the arrest and should be cleared of any wrongdoing.
‘I take full responsibility for amplifying these claims to the point of national concern,’ Merritt said.
Merritt released this statement on Wednesday taking back the false claims and apologizing to officer Hubbard and his family.
Shaun King On Wednesday wrote: When the “victim” you fought for turns out to be the victimizer: Sherita Dixon-Cole and the painful consequences of a false report of sexual assault and police misconduct