Texas law enforcement released footage featuring the arrest of Sherita Dixon Cole, and her account of the night — which included lurid allegations of sexual assault — were proven entirely false as a result.
Now the state’s Department of Public Safety is calling Cole’s lie a “despicable, slanderous, and false accusation,” and even Cole’s attorney has jumped ship on his support for her.
What’s the background here?
Activist and writer Shaun King reported allegations on Sunday that a Texas state trooper sexually assaulted a black woman during a traffic stop.
According to the report, an officer pulled the woman — Sherita Dixon Cole — over early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence.
After standard sobriety tests — and passing them, according to King — the officer reportedly decided to take Cole into custody anyway, simply because he didn’t like her “attitude.”
The officer reportedly placed Cole in the front seat, and the rest, as they say, is history.
King reported Cole’s graphic account, which alleged that the officer had sexually assaulted her several times on the way to the police station.
Cole was reportedly booked for DUI/DWI upon arrival at the station.
She reportedly visited a hospital after she was released later on Sunday.
An internal investigation rendered reports that said the dashcam footage did not support Cole’s claims.
A statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that dashcam footage would be made public so long as the district attorney cleared the reveal.
What is being said now?
The district attorney did clear the tape’s release, and the footage was revealed Tuesday.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released the video and wrote in a statement shared on Facebook:
On May 20, 2018, at approximately 1:32 a.m., a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper observed a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu traveling south on Interstate 35 in Ellis County near U.S. 287. The vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation. Based on the traffic stop, the driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The driver, identified as Sherita Dixon-Cole, 37, from Grapevine, was arrested and transported to the Ellis County Jail, where she was charged with DWI.
Following the arrest, spurious and false accusations related to this traffic stop were made against the Texas Trooper. Upon learning of those allegations, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately took action to review the video in connection with this traffic stop and arrest. The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. 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.
At the department’s request, the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed video of the traffic stop and arrest, and authorized the release of the video. The department today proactively and publicly released the video captured by the Trooper’s body camera, which can be viewed in its entirety at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aptl7ot189o.
(Note: Certain sections of the video have been blurred or rendered inaudible to protect information that is confidential by state statute, including Cole’s personally identifiable information.)
S. Lee Merritt, Cole’s attorney, released a statement on Tuesday defending the Texas police department.
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.
King has yet to tweet about the latest development, and has, in fact, apparently removed his initial posting from Facebook, which went viral shortly after the time of posting.
You can watch the video in its entirety below.