Bodycam footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety challenges claims made on social media by activist Shaun King and attorney Lee Merritt that a woman was allegedly raped by a state trooper after a traffic stop in Waxahachie.
This week, Shaun King took to social media claiming that Texas resident Sherita Dixon Cole was falsely arrested, sexually assaulted, and raped by a Texas state trooper following a traffic stop. In his posts and tweets, King reported on the claims as fact, prompting the allegations to go viral after they were shared among his 1.7 million followers on Facebook and 977,000 followers on Twitter. The posts related to the arrest were apparently deleted thereafter.
Soon after the initial posts, Texas attorney and activist Lee Merritt also took to social media to announce he was representing Dixon Cole and claimed his client had not been treated as a sexual assault victim, was not given any testing, and based on his client’s information, the bodycam footage may be doctored. Merritt’s initial post was also apparently deleted.
A day after the claims went viral, the Texas Department of Public Safety released the bodycam footage of the arrest which purports to reveal that Dixon Cole was allegedly driving while intoxicated and failed field sobriety tests. There is no footage depicting sexual assault or rape.
“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 statement by Texas DPS revealed.
Hours after the footage was released, Merritt issued a statement claiming the video directly contradicts the information his client provided and asked for the trooper to be cleared of any wrongdoing.
“I take full responsibility for amplifying these claims to the point of national concern,” Merritt wrote.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.