Accusations of police abuse of power are currently widespread. In a few cases the claims seem to have some merit. However, in more and more of these cases it seems that the accusations are baseless. It would appear that we have another case of the latter following the release of body cam footage in Texas earlier today.
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According to local media reports:
The Texas Department of Public Safety has released dash camera video of a traffic stop that has gained national attention, debunking a woman’s claims that a trooper sexually assaulted her.
DPS says Trooper Daniel Hubbard saw a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu driving south on Interstate 35 in Ellis County near U.S. 287 and the car was stopped for a traffic violation. Based on the traffic stop, the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated. She was taken to the Ellis County jail and charged with DWI.
Following the arrest, allegations were made against Hubbard. DPS says it took those allegations seriously, immediately reviewing the traffic stop and arrest. It ultimately concluded there was no evidence to support the allegations that any wrongdoing occurred.
Area Attorney Lee Merritt found himself having to issue a public and embarrassing apology after being directly lied to by his prospective client.
Merritt released the following statement and apology following the release of the body cam footage:
The body camera footage released directly conflicts with the accounts reported to my office. There is no readily apparent evidence of tampering with the footage. Officer Daniel Hubbard seems to comport himself professionally during the duration of the traffic stop and arrest and— without more— should be cleared of any wrongdoing. It is deeply troubling when innocent parties are falsely accused and I am truly sorry for any trouble these claims may have caused Officer Hubbard and his family.
I take full responsibility for amplifying these claims to the point of national concern. This office regularly receives hundreds of complaints of abuse from across the nation and we are obligated to filter these messages thoroughly before relaying them to our powerful allies. Our office necessarily takes claims of abuse— particularly by law enforcement officers— very seriously. It is our responsibility to call for swift, transparent and thorough investigation into any such accusation. Our calls for professionalism and adherence to protocol, however, should not be misconstrued as a rush to judgment.
To the contrary, our goal in presenting claims of misconduct is to arrive as quickly and as accurately as possible to the truth. We are thankful to the members of the community willing to echo our demands for transparency and justice. However, in this matter it seems your righteous vigilance was abused.
Here is the full post from Merritt’s Facebook page:
Here is the full footage released by authorities. It is nearly two hours in length: