A prominent social activist and a civil rights attorney are coming to the defense of a Black woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by a Texas state trooper this past weekend.
Sherita Dixon Cole’s story made headlines after activist and writer Shaun King shared her story on social media. King, a former New York Daily News reporter, alleges that Dixon-Cole was raped by Texas Department of Public Safety officer Daniel Hubbard and jailed on suspicion of DUI after she repeatedly refused his sexual advances.
“Sherita Dixon Cole just happens to be a close personal friend of Civil Rights Attorney and my close friend Lee Merritt,” he wrote in a viral Facebook post. “This woman was kidnapped and raped by a Texas State Trooper— OFFICER HUBBARD, she is now being held hostage in Ellis County Jail!”
According to King’s account of the incident, the encounter unfolded in the early hours of May 20 after Hubbard stopped Dixon-Cole for possible drunk driving at approximately 1:30 a.m. near Waxahachie, Texas. Dixon-Cole’s family, who spoke with King, contends she was not drunk and passed a breathalyzer test to prove it. Still, Hubbard carted her off to jail “because he didn’t like her attitude.”
That’s when the harassment began, with the trooper telling Dixon-Cole she could go home only if she agreed to have sex with him. Although she rebuffed his advances, Hubbard “placed his hands back up [Cole’s] skirt and penetrated her vagina, warning her ‘not to be stupid!’ ”
Before this, Dixon-Cole had called her boyfriend to the scene — who arrived just as the trooper’s alleged misconduct began. Hubbard allowed the boyfriend to speak briefly with Dixon-Cole in his presence before informing him that he was taking his fianceé to the Ellis County Jail, even though she’d passed the breathalyzer test. Dixon-Cole’s fiancé told Hubbard he’d follow them to the jail, but was threatened with arrest if he tried it.
Hubbard then drove from the scene and continued pressing the victim for sex in exchange for her release, “pulling at her clothes and placing his hand down her shirt and up her skirt,” King wrote. Dixon-Cole’s fiancé trailed Hubbard’s cruiser as they were en route to the station but lost the pair as the officer ducked off into back roads. He eventually grew frustrated at Dixon-Cole’s rebuffs and took her to the Ellis County Jail where she was booked for a DUI.
“This woman is a mother and a corporate professional. She didn’t just make this up,” King wrote, demanding justice. “A horrible crime was committed against her and it needs to be deal with immediately.”
Dixon-Cole was released from jail around 9 p.m. Sunday and immediately treated at a local hospital, where she also received testing to preserve any evidence of the alleged rape, according to a press release. She has yet to speak publicly on the incident but has retained the services of well-known civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt.
“Our office will not shirk its responsibility to afford these allegations the professionalism and gravity that they merit. Ms. Dixon-Cole deserves nothing less,” Merritt said in a statement.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has denied the allegations against their officer and said dash cam video of the incident tells an entirely different story.
“Upon learning of the allegations today, the department immediately took action to review the dash cam video,” DPS said in a statement. “The video shows absolutely no evidence to support the serious accusations against the trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect. DPS will present the video to the DA’s Office to determine if any further action is needed. The department will release the video to the public if there are no objections by the DA’s Office.”
The incident is still being investigated.