By Ray Sanchez and Tina Burnside, CNN
Texas prosecutors say they are investigating a woman’s false accusation against a trooper she said sexually assaulted her during a traffic stop, and her attorney has apologized for “amplifying these claims to the point of national concern.”
Sherita Dixon-Cole’s false claim against Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Hubbard was uncovered after authorities reviewed body camera video of Sunday’s traffic stop on Interstate 35 in Ellis County. After the stop, Dixon-Cole was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
“The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect,” the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement when it released the video this week.
“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 Ellis County District Attorney’s office is now investigating the false report, CNN affiliate KTVT reported.
The woman’s attorney, Lee Merritt, apologized on Wednesday for issuing a statement detailing Dixon-Cole’s claim of being sexually assaulted by the trooper — an allegation that was widely shared on social media.
“Officer Daniel Hubbard seems to comport himself professionally during the duration of the traffic stop and arrest and … should be cleared of any wrongdoing,” Merritt said.
“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.”
Department of Public Safety officials denied the allegations from the beginning and late Tuesday released nearly two hours of body cam footage. The video, blurred or muted to protect confidential information, showed the trooper did not make inappropriate comments or sexually assault Dixon-Cole. She was pulled over and asked to take a sobriety test. She was later handcuffed and taken to the county jail.
The trooper stopped Dixon-Cole, 37, at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday for an unspecified traffic violation. She was charged with driving while intoxicated.
The public safety department said the district attorney reviewed the video and authorized its release.
“This is tragic because society is rightfully demanding that police officers conduct themselves beyond reproach,” Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson said, KTVT reported. “The world now knows that the trooper conducted himself beyond reproach and yet he was still subject to this horrible abuse.”