Drug War

Trooper Stops Driver Twice Within 3 Hours, Gropes Her for No Apparent Reason

The cop's boss says he did nothing wrong; the local D.A. disagrees.

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Tennessee Highway Patrol

In a case that illustrates the fine line between standard police procedure and sexual assault, a Tennessee woman says a state trooper pulled her over twice within a few hours and groped her for no apparent reason. Although the trooper's boss cleared him of any wrongdoing, the local district attorney says the traffic stops were inconsistent with the Tennessee Highway Patrol's training and rules.

According to a lawsuit filed by Patricia Aileen Wilson, State Trooper Isaiah Lloyd stopped her on August 16 as she was driving with her mother on Interstate 75 in Campbell County, ostensibly because she was not wearing a seat belt. In dashcam video obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Lloyd asks Wilson whether she has taken "any presciption medication or anything." She replies, firmly and calmly, "No, I swear to God. No, I can tell you now. No drugs, no alcohol, nothing." He instructs her to get out of her pickup truck and put her hands on the hood of his cruiser.

Wilson is wearing shorts and a T-shirt over a camisole. Lloyd sticks his hand inside her shorts and feels around (touching her buttocks and pubic area, according to the lawsuit). He asks her if she has any drugs hidden in her bra; she says no and, per his instructions, pulls her T-shirt away from her body and shakes her chest to confirm that there is no contraband there. Lloyd conducts a few roadside sobriety tests. He tells Wilson to track his finger with her eyes as he moves it back and forth, then up and down. Later he has her walk toe to heel in a line and stand on one foot while counting to 30. She seems completely sober.

Lloyd asks Wilson again about prescription medication. "The only thing I take, and that's at night, is…what's the name of it? To help me sleep." Lloyd suggests the drug is Ambien. Wilson says she generally takes the sedative "every other night, but I don't take any kind of narcotic or anything else." Lloyd tells her, "Ambien's a narcotic" (which it is, loosely speaking, although it is not an opioid). After giving Wilson a citation for failing to wear a seat belt, Lloyd lets her go.

Three hours later, Lloyd, who has copied Wilson's address from her driver's license while writing her ticket, pulls her over on a county road near her home while she is driving with her children, ages 8 and 3, in the back seat. This time Lloyd's justification is that the tint on her truck's windows is too dark, although it is no darker now than it was earlier in the day. Audio of the four-minute conversation between Lloyd and Wilson during the second stop is missing from the dashcam video (a failure that Lloyd attributes to a microphone malfunction). But according to Wilson's lawsuit, Lloyd told her, "We have to stop meeting like this." Despite Lloyd's supposed concern that Wilson's tinted windows posed an intolerable threat to public safety, he did not issue her a ticket.

Last month Col. Tracy Trott, head of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, issued a statement in response to Wilson's complaint about Lloyd's treatment of her. "The Command Staff, including females Major Cheryl Sanders and Lt. Stacey Heatherly, reviewed the traffic stop video cautiously and carefully several times to determine if Trooper Lloyd had acted inappropriately with Ms. Wilson," Trott said. "Along with the Command Staff, I concurred after thorough review of the video that Trooper Lloyd did not act inappropriately with Ms. Wilson. It appears that Trooper Lloyd conducted a search for contraband instead of a pat down for weapons. The technique that Trooper Lloyd used during the traffic stop will be addressed internally."

Eighth Judicial District Attorney General Jared Effler, whose jurisdiction includes Campbell County, sees things differently. Although there is not enough evidence to charge Lloyd with sexual battery, Effler said last week, "our review of this matter revealed that Trooper Lloyd's actions were inconsistent with his training and Tennessee Department of Safety general orders." He said he had shared his findings with Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security David Purkey, asking that they "be reviewed with Trooper Lloyd to prevent similar incidents in the future." Effler added that he had dropped the seat belt citation against Wilson.

[Update: On Tuesday a department spokesman told the Knoxville News Sentinel Lloyd was will receive remedial training in proper search procedures. "We saw no criminal intent on the video," the spokesman said. "He's been orally counseled on his search techniques." According to Tennessee Highway Patrol records obtained by the newspaper, "it is not part of [the] training curriculum to go inside the waistband during a pat down."]

"How is it OK to say, 'I think you're on drugs,' and just stick your hands down my pants?" Wilson asked in an interview with the New Sentinel. It's not.

Lloyd claimed through a lawyer, James A.H. Bell, that he patted down Wilson because she told him she had a prescription for Ambien, which hardly makes sense as a reason to suspect she was hiding illegal drugs in her underwear. In any case, the dashcam video shows that the discussion of Ambien came after the search, not before it. Furthermore, although Bell said Lloyd performed "a traditional stop and frisk," his pat-down of Wilson did not meet the legal requirements for such a search.

In the 1968 case Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court said the Fourth Amendment allows a police officer to stop someone he reasonably suspects is engaged in criminal activity and frisk him if he reasonably suspects the person is armed and dangerous. Terry did not authorize pat-downs for drugs (although contraband discovered in the course of a pat-down can be seized and used as evidence against the suspect), and it did not authorize searches under clothing. Since Lloyd does not claim he believed Wilson was armed and dangerous, it is hard to see how his search of her can be legal.

The Supreme Court nevertheless has encouraged this sort of behavior by approving pretextual traffic stops based on trivial violations and humiliating invasions of privacy aimed at discovering arbitrarily proscribed intoxicants. State legislators, meanwhile, have multiplied the possibilities for harassing innocent motorists through laws like the ones that allowed Lloyd to stop Wilson because she did not buckle her seat belt and then because the windows of her truck were tinted. Together these factors mean that women will continue to suffer degrading searches-cum-assaults at the hands of dedicated public servants like Isaiah Lloyd.

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113 responses to “Trooper Stops Driver Twice Within 3 Hours, Gropes Her for No Apparent Reason

  1. Although the trooper’s boss cleared him of any wrongdoing, the local district attorney says the traffic stops were inconsistent with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s training and rules.

    Are there a set of Highway Patrol rules in which groping her would be ok?

    1. Unless there is a rule explicitly forbidding it, it’s all good.

    2. Are there a set of Highway Patrol rules in which groping her would be ok?

      The ‘groping’ is burying the lede, IMO. A woman playing her strong hand in court maybe. I didn’t see anything that I would be willing to ‘convict’ a civilian of. It’s the using her address to creep about her residence that’s fucked up.

      1. There’s plenty of evidence to fire a civilian.

        1. There’s plenty of evidence to fire a civilian.

          Sure. The fact that you don’t even need evidence to fire a civilian is kinda why I think we should be careful that the whole “He groped her!” allegation shouldn’t veer off into Neo-Victorian/Hyper-Puritan waters. He didn’t have reasonable cause to surmise that her seatbelt violation was explained by something in her waistband. That said, he didn’t do anything in the search that, if he were a private security guard searching for something he believed to be on her person, was sexual in nature. If he’d done (search-wise) what he did to a man, we wouldn’t be hearing about this story. I’d even go so far as to say if he’d done what he did to a less attractive female, we wouldn’t be hearing about this story.

          1. “he didn’t do anything in the search that, if he were a private security guard searching for something he believed to be on her person, was sexual in nature”

            You do understand that others disagree?

          2. 1. A private security guard would have never had the authority to perform a personal search.

            2. As a cop, he didn’t have probable cause to believe she was carrying contraband in the first place. Not wearing a seatbelt is not and admitting to using Ambien – even if that admission had come first (which it didn’t) – is not either.

            So, IMO *everything he did in the search was in acceptable.

          3. Attraction or sex has nothing to do with this. It was wrong. It would have been wrong if no one reported it – it’s wrong period. There was no reason for him to ‘pat’ her down. And if some cop with no probable cause put his hand in my underwear or touched my breasts…i’d be arrested for assaulting an officer. If her car smelled like weed and she was slurring her words and swerving…I may understand his need to pat her down over her clothes and then bring her in if they felt the need check her internally…but then he tracks her down and pulls her over again? This guy is a fucking a creep. I’m not a cop hater by any means, but I do see how it could be an appealing job to men with no self esteem or control using that sudden power and control for wrongdoing.

            1. Attraction or sex has nothing to do with this. It was wrong.

              Not at all disagreed.

              And if some cop with no probable cause put his hand in my underwear or touched my breasts…i’d be arrested for assaulting an officer.

              Watch the video, he doesn’t touch her breasts that I can tell. She may not know the charges but there doesn’t appear to be the slightest protest or real inquiry with regard to the search. I don’t like that it was a baseless search but calling what he did a grope or something along the lines of sexual harassment or assault converts lots of hugs, purely platonic dancing, and even helpful gestures into gropes/sexual assaults/harassment.

              I don’t disagree that the guy is a fucking creep. The fact that the word ‘grope’ is used and that the nature of the search is the focus of this piece is an error as far as I’m concerned.

              1. “Grope” results in more zeros at the end of any potential settlement. And yes I agree, the illegal search is the issue.

              2. I don’t think your platonic dancing and helpful gestures could be mistaken for even a legal non-creepy search because otherwise I would hope you’d have been arrested by now.

              3. converts lots of hugs, purely platonic dancing, and even helpful gestures into gropes/sexual assaults/harassment.

                I’d like to know the women you hang around with. No, really. Hook me up bro.

            2. If her car smelled like weed and she was slurring her words and swerving…I may understand his need to pat her down over her clothes

              If she was driving recklessly, then it seems he’d have had everything he needed already. The notion that we have to check for contraband for confirmation is maybe the most absurd part of these kinds of stories. If she’s driving dangerously, then it truly doesn’t matter whether she’s drunk, high, eating a hamburger, tending to her kids in the back seat, or she’s just a shitty driver.

      2. You have no problem with civilians going around and sticking their hands in the pants of unwilling woman under the implied threat of violence?

        1. In your world do civilians milling about generally carry an implied threat of violence?

          In mine ours, the answer is generally ‘no’ especially on a public highway which happens to be their place of employment in broad daylight. When they follow you home and show up unexpectedly around sunset it tends to veer more into threat territory even if they don’t grope you.

          1. Why are you bringing up a hypothetical that drastically changes the nature of the event? Cops do have an implied threat of violence, removing it changes the situation entirely. Without an implied threat of violence, she wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place.

      3. What do you think “burying the lede” means?

      4. “The ‘groping’ is burying the lede, IMO……I didn’t see anything that I would be willing to ‘convict’ a civilian of.”

        Well, he stuck his fucking hand in her pants for no apparent reason. There’s that…….

    3. Probably, if the Officer finds the detainee “hot” enough. No one is frisking 400 lb ladies!

    4. Groping is ok because if someone complains they had a gun and you shot in self defense.

  2. Wilson is wearing shorts and a T-shirt over a camisole. Lloyd sticks his hand inside her shorts and feels around (touching her butticks and genital area, according to the lawsuit).

    Shouldn’t ENB be on this beat?

    1. I think so. She normally handles the Penthouse Letters section.

  3. Was he assigned to patrol near her house?

    Dude should be fired.

    1. Dude should get his ass kicked by that woman’s father or husband. What a fucking creep.

      1. Man, IDK, I didn’t see anything that I would distinctly call ‘groping’. If a friend did it to my wife, I’d probably joke about watching where his hands went but I didn’t see anything distinctly worth kicking someone’s ass over. The DA and/or superior officers do need to put a clear and definitive end to any sort of bullshit like this though.

        I do kinda wonder if it would’ve been the same seat belt/tinted windows bullshit if Mrs. Wilson were a man or a black man.

        1. It all depends on if the cop wants to pull the person over. There are so many traffic laws (laws in general) that it is impossible to follow them all. Which means that a cop can pull over anyone they want. All they have to do is follow them long enough for them to screw up.

          “”Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.””

          – Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin’s secret police

          1. Right, which is kinda my point. The guy did abuse his powers in pulling her over and patrolling the area of her residence. The ‘grope’, to me, doesn’t look significantly different (or even less invasive) than a search that would’ve been done on a man. Certainly less invasive than pretty much any search I’ve seen or experienced from TSA.

            1. Doing a quick search is one thing, and really enjoying your job is another. Combine that with the stalking, and this guy is a certified creep. Shouldn’t have a badge.

              1. He may be qualified to be a school resource officer.

            2. And there’s also the fact that he lacked probable cause, making the search illegal.

              1. Didn’t even have reasonable suspicion.

        2. Do you really think he searched her from drugs without sticking his fingers in her underwear?

          1. I admit to not being able to see *everything*, but his hands are never fully to the front *and* in her pants. Where you see them at her sides and he asks her to pull her shirt off of her waistband (meaning it was there before) it’s clearly not in her underwear.

            I’m not saying I like the pat down. I’m just saying that TSA does 10X worse, 100X a day and if it were a man he probably wouldn’t even have gotten a hearing.

            Fuck, a gunman barges into a church in Amarillo TX. After taking them hostage, members of the congregation wrestle the gunman to the ground and disarm him. Police show up and shoot the churchgoer who just happened to be holding the gun. This ‘groping’ isn’t the abuse of power you’re looking for. Not even in this case itself.

        3. If your friend pulled a gun on you both and demanded that she submit, would you be as accepting?

          1. WTF bizarro world am I in here? Did he draw a gun?

            Your friend pulls a gun on you, demands that she submit to a frisking, runs their hand through her waistband, and then sends you on your way and your complaint isn’t about having a gun drawn on you and your wife but about the (in)appropriateness of the frisking?

            It’s actually getting to be a little bit sad how libertarians are conflating the metaphorical threat of force/harm/death with literal threats of force/harm/death.

            Watch the video, she doesn’t get done with the frisking and act like someone who’s been groped or raped. If she was, genially taking a phone call while finishing up business with her groper seems astoundingly platonic to me.

      2. ^^this. Where’s the husband???

      3. ^^this. Where’s the husband?!

    2. He should definitely lose his job, just like any non-cop would if they engaged in stalking and sexual assault.

      1. How do you expect police departments to fill their ranks if you take away all the perks of the job?

      2. Stalking and Sexual assault is in the job description, Union Addendum, paragraph 3, redacted.

    3. I would go so far as to say he shouldn’t be allowed to police again.

      1. Well, now we have an answer to the question of “How far would Crusty go?”.

    4. Looter politicians who order cops to grope, beat and shoot people over plant leaves need to be fired… but they “shall not be questioned.” So how do you fire criminals who “shall not be questioned”? Did Lysander Spooner have any ideas on that?

    5. Lets be FAIR! The sex offender’s boss cleared him of any wrongdoing. That settles the matter, right?

      1. Wouldn’t be shocked if this is a department “game.”

      2. It might settle it if they fired the boss, then re-trained the officers.

  4. I guess using your lights and siren is easier than Tinder to get a date.

  5. “Audio is mysteriously absent from the dashcam video of the second stop, a fact that Lloyd later attributed to a microphone malfunction.”

    In cases like this (a) any microphone or camera malfunctions should be presumed the fault of the cop unless he *proves* it’s not, and (b) if a functioning camera/microphone would have either confirmed or rebutted the “civilian’s” story, but isn’t functioning through the cop’s fault, then the “civilian’s” version of events should be presumed true.

    I have a hunch that rules like this would reduce the number of “malfunctions.”

    1. Protocol should be that cops are required to verify that their recording devices are operational before stopping someone.

      If you don’t, you’re fired.

  6. In cases of microphone or camera “malfunctions,” if the “malfunction” prevented the camera/microphone from either verifying or discrediting the “civilian” complainant’s story, then the “civilian’s” story should be presumed true, unless the cops proves otherwise.

    I suspect that this one weird trick would magically reduce the number of “malfunctioning” cameras and microphones.

    1. Just to make it fair, have the “civilian” file their complaint before they know for sure if there’s audio or video of the encounter.

      1. And have the “officer” file their version of the stop before they know for sure if there’s audio or video of the encounter. [30 sec delay, fake off switch, admin override, fellow officer camera nowithstanding] Fair is fair.

  7. I wonder how many more women will come forward now that this is public. She can’t be his first victim. Unless they fear retaliation.

    1. Bingo. No way in hell he just did this once or he is the only guy on the force doing it. Nothing depraved just happens once. No one just “makes a mistake”. When someone is caught doing something wrong, it is almost never the first time they have done it.

      1. They’ve probably got some code word for too, so they can brag about it to each other without anyone else knowing what they’re talking about.

        1. “I’ve got a code 36-24-36 out here on county road 69.”

  8. The technique that Trooper Lloyd used during the traffic stop will be addressed internally.

    In other words, not at all.

    1. Hey now, don’t forget about the high-fives in the locker room.

    2. “Shut the camera off before you grope women.”

      1. Procedure updated.

    3. I’m mean they’ll talk about it for a few minutes. Probably say the whore was asking for it.

    4. “Internally” means the groping must be deeper.

  9. I know the reason why he groped her.

  10. for No Apparent Reason

    I see a couple of reasons.

    1. Yes, some reasons are quite apparent in the photo.

    2. Yeah, that may be one of the dumber article premises.

  11. The ‘a few hours’ between gropings happens to most cops as they age, right? Asking for a friend (Dunphy).

    1. Waitaminnit! Aren’t Tennesseeans the ones that elected Al Gore to office? then voted for the other jerk when Gore turned out to be massage-girl-groping Econazi?

  12. OT: You’ve heard of a cat burglar? World’s most bizarre break-in featuring horse-faced Rastafarian swiping snacks from a fridge is caught on a sauna’s CCTV

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..nacks.html

    I’m at a loss for words.

    1. He was just horsin’ around.

  13. I was holding out hope that at least state troopers were still generally respectable people, and my optimism keeps failing me.

    I think through whatever combination of factors we’ve created a profession that is very attractive to a certain kind of asshole.

  14. I figure that anything that infringes on your body in an initiation of force ought to be the victim’s to do with as they wish. So, I think a payment to the victim of (up to) one finger removed for every grope is pretty “just”, amiright?

    1. Check out Hammurabi over here.

      1. Naw, just “an eye for an eye”. He might like a grope.

        Simple, don’t do it and you’re good. Do it, and that part of you is theirs.

        Maybe they’ll be merciful and forgive the debt. Or just take the “tip”.

        1. Men are notorious for not thinking about consequences when a massive rack is presented before them. So I don’t think your suggestion would do much to discourage the behavior.

          1. I think every time they looked down at the missing finger would be a big hint.

            And the really dumb ones would have a few hints.

  15. So he’s a state trooper patrolling I-75 and a few hours later he’s patrolling a county road near her home? Doesn’t sound at all suspiciously like stalking, which would tend to aggravate the sexual assault charge he’d be facing if he weren’t one of the King’s Men.

  16. Treat every cop like a psychopath with the legal authority to grope or even rape and kill you. In other words, try not to ever encounter a cop.

      1. Still hope for you… Damned these tiny keyboards!

    1. It’s pretty much the same as you would treat any dangerous animal.

      And then they’ll have the nerve to complain that the community isn’t supporting them.

  17. […] the local district attorney says the traffic stops were inconsistent with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s training and rules.

    And nothing else happened.

    1. The f*ck?

  18. No Apparent Reason

    I’d say the reason is apparent.

    1. Yes, two very shapely ones from the looks of it.

      1. He means boobs.

  19. “Did not act inappropriately” . That conclusion is messed up. What the hell would he have to do for his behavior to be consider inappropriate??? How many basic rules would he need to ignore?? I don’t see any justification for ANY search either of her person or the car.

    1. What the hell would he have to do for his behavior to be consider inappropriate??? How many basic rules would he need to ignore??

      The answer you seek rhymes with “linger” and “plast”.

  20. Just imagine his surprise to find the subject of groping is pre-surgical MtF transitional. He’d find a bulge, then upon reaching in…

    “OOPS! Wrong kind of package!”

    1. That would be hilarious. In a fit of homophobic panic he might put the person in the hospital and claim they were coming on to him or something. So funny.

  21. He likes those stocky country women.

  22. Hey, Republican and Democratic lawmakers order those pigs to grope drivers for purposes of prohibitionist asset forfeiture. And even if she can’t be looted, assault and rape will still provide needed revenue to attorneys. Attorneys are the jerks who become solicitors, help murdering cops escape justice in mock trials, then go on and run for Congress to pass more grope and grab legislation. You wouldn’t want people to be able to transport plant leaves, would you?

  23. If that sonofabitch did that to my wife or daughter he’d have more than a lawsuit to worry about.

  24. It’s just so hard to ask a woman out these days.

    1. Maybe he was just verifying gender first. I think it is still bad taste to all for the right pronoun before propositioning.

  25. These criminal cops really got it made, feeling up attractive women and don’t forget the free paid vacations whenever innocent folks are brutally murdered!

  26. Thankfully she had left the family dog at home.

  27. “Trooper Stops Driver Twice Within 3 Hours, Gropes Her for No Apparent Reason”

    The reason is plenty apparent. A decent looking gal in shorts.

  28. “Lloyd claimed through a lawyer, James A.H. Bell, that he patted down Wilson because she told him she had a prescription for Ambien, which hardly makes sense as a reason to suspect she was hiding illegal drugs in her underwear. In any case, the dashcam video shows that the discussion of Ambien came after the search, not before it. ”

    Pre crime
    He knew how she was going to respond to his question, so he started the search before asking the question

  29. Actually, Terry allowed the pat-down as a precautionary measure without the officer having to articulate that the detainee was “armed and dangerous”, which there was no real reason to believe the detainees in that case were.

  30. What person doesn’t like being forced to stand on the side of the road, (which is inherently dangerous), and forced to submit to a armed strangers demands for non consensual intimate physical contact!?
    Authoritarian statist worshiping fans of a police state justify this as for the public’s safety.
    But liberty loving citizens, resent it. He abused his position and disrespected her.
    He violated her rights, but hey, that badge gets him further than his personality ever did in high school.

  31. This kind of thing is why Russians, with their notoriously corrupt police force, have been purchasing and installing dash cams on their own cars for years now.

    1. And youtube thanks them for it.

  32. It’s always funny watching guys who barely graduated high school conduct what’s basically a medical exam on the side of the road.

  33. I appreciate the cops. They have a very dangerous, thankless, and sometimes impossible job to do, and they have to get up every day and go do it. And I think that cop is a F’in creep and should be fired and marked for life as an a-hole.

  34. No apparent reason? There’s two reasons on her chest right there, are you blind?

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