DPS releases video after alleged rape; attorney retracts claim

Photo courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety
Sherita Dixon-Cole, 37, from Grapevine, was arrested on Sunday, May 20, 2018 and charged with DWI.

WAXAHACHIE — A nearly two-hour video released by the Texas Department of Public safety vindicates a trooper who had been accused of rape by a DWI suspect, her attorney and a civil rights activist.

DPS released body cam footage to the public late on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 along with the following press release:

"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.)"

Following the release of the video, Dixon-Cole's attorney, Lee Merritt, issued a press release early Wednesday morning retracting his and the woman's claims of rape by the trooper.

Merritt's press release stated:

"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."

Shaun King, a civil rights activist, made Dixon-Cole's claims go viral that led to death threats being made against the trooper and another individual the angry viral mob falsely identified. Now that the trooper has been vindicated, King has deleted his original social media posts and has not issued an apology or shared Merritt's press release.