Police are now disputing the claims of a woman who alleged that she was raped by a Texas Highway Patrol trooper during her DWI arrest and consequently gained the attention and support of media members with large followings.
Sherita Dixon-Cole, 37, was pulled over on May 20 and she was arrested for DWI and charged. After that, Dixon-Cole’s accusations of rape and kidnapping caught the public’s attention.
Police conducted an investigation and determined that the video showed “absolutely no evidence to support the egregious and unsubstantiated accusations against the Trooper during the DWI arrest of the suspect.”
The video is more than an hour long.
Police said they were “appalled” by the “despicable, slanderous and false” accusation.
Here’s how police described the turn of events:
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.
Dixon-Cole’s lawyer S. Lee Merritt tweeted that the footage “directly conflicts with the accounts reported to [his] office” and that the accused officer “should be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
Press Release concerning released body-cam footage by Texas DPS pic.twitter.com/ExpbgmJEH5
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 23, 2018
What a difference two days makes.
Merritt held a press conference about the allegations as recently as Monday.
Presser today at 2PM 1910 Pacific Ave Suite 1700 Conference Dallas TX pic.twitter.com/9ckavZnKB9
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) May 21, 2018
But the damage was already done. Shaun King ended up getting hold of the story and shared it on his Facebook, even naming the officer. The allegations were seen far and wide. The post was eventually taken down.
He pointed out that Merritt is a close personal friend.
“This woman was kidnapped and raped by a Texas State Trooper […] she is now being held hostage in Ellis County Jail!” he wrote to his 1.7 million-plus following. “Sherita Dixon Cole just happens to be a close personal friend of Civil Rights Attorney and my close friend Lee Merritt.”
He said he had the “facts” of what happened, claiming the officer “didn’t like [her] attitude,” put his hand on her thigh and told her she could earn her way out of the predicament as he lifted her skirt. She claimed the officer told Dixon-Cole’s fiancé, who apparently arrived at the scene, that he wasn’t allowed to follow them to the jail. She alleged that after her fiancé left to wait for them up the street, the officer drove to an area out of view and said “why don’t you just give me some of that sweet pussy you have been given your fiancé and then you can go home.” He allegedly penetrated her with his fingers.
He also tweeted that she was “arrested without cause.”
Just confirmed that Sherita Dixon Cole PASSED her breathalyzer test and was arrested without cause. https://t.co/wHLxxZsUgb
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 21, 2018
“This woman is a mother and a corporate professional. She didn’t just make this up. A horrible crime was committed against her and it needs to be deal with immediately,” King continued. “Sherita we are getting you out and getting you justice!”
The post can still be read in full here.
King later tweeted his reaction to the “painful consequences of a false report.”
When the “victim” you fought for turns out to be the victimizer: Sherita Dixon-Cole and the painful consequences of a false report of sexual assault and police misconduct.
My open thoughts.https://t.co/2a0gzEXZVI
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 23, 2018
“Each year in the United States, tens of thousands of people are assaulted, abused, beaten, falsely arrested, and threatened by American police. 2018 is actually on pace to be the deadliest year ever measured for police brutality in this country,” he wrote. “But Sherita Dixon-Cole is not one of those victims. She victimized us. She victimized the man she falsely accused and she victimized those who stood up for her — believing that she had experienced the worst crimes.”
“We reject what Sherita Dixon-Cole has done here. It’s awful,” he added.
The story also gained traction at The Root, which has updated its story in light of Merritt’s response to false accusations.
Editor’s note: this story was updated with Shaun King’s reaction to the video.
[Image via Texas Department of Public Safety ]