A civil rights lawyer on Monday claimed there was "significant evidence to substantiate" his client's claim she was raped by a Texas state trooper. Two days later, he said the trooper "should be cleared of any wrongdoing." It was an about-face spurred by the release of a bodycam video from 37-year-old Sherita Dixon-Cole's DWI arrest early Sunday near Dallas, which "appalled" authorities say disproves the "spurious and false accusations," per the Washington Post. Though he'd shared claims that Dixon-Cole was offered special treatment for sex, then raped while "steps were taken to obscure video evidence," Lee Merritt found it impossible to argue with almost two hours of footage, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It "directly conflicts with the accounts reported to my office" and offers "no readily apparent evidence of tampering," the lawyer now says.
Indeed, the camera rolls as Dixon-Cole is pulled over, asked to perform sobriety tests, handcuffed, and taken to jail. "Outside of personal information being blurred out, the video appears to be in its original form," writes journalist Shaun King, who amplified Dixon-Cole's allegations in since-deleted tweets. Though he notes her arrest was "arguably unwarranted" as she passed two Breathalyzer tests, King now says Dixon-Cole's apparently false report was "awful." It's unclear if she'll face charges. On Wednesday, as King revealed Dixon-Cole was sticking to her story, Ellis County's district attorney said his office was still looking into "what was said and who it was said to," per the Dallas Morning News. For his part, Merritt has apologized to the accused trooper and his family, claiming "full responsibility for amplifying these claims to the point of national concern." (Read more Texas stories.)