A Texas state trooper is under investigation after two Fort Worth women claim he got pliers to help remove piercings from their breasts and later injured one of them with his hands.
The trooper, identified in the women's arrest records as Michael Tice, has been placed on administrative duty, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger.
The women, 18-year-old Tayler Myers and 19-year-old Courtney Palacios, said they were returning to Fort Worth from a concert in Houston on Monday when the trooper stopped them for speeding in Marlin, east of Waco.
The trooper said he found a single pill in the vehicle and arrested them and two male friends for drug possession, the women said.
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Myers and Palacios said they were in the back seat of the car and knew nothing about the pill, which they said the trooper claimed to find in the driver's door.
While being booked into the Falls County Jail, the two women said the trooper asked them to remove any piercings.
"And then we told him, 'Well, where do we go to take out our nipple rings?'" Myers said. "And he was like, 'You are going to have to do it right here, in the open.'"
They said they turned away and raised their shirts.
"We ended up getting one of them out," Palacios said. "We each got our right one out. But we were having trouble with the left. It was not coming out at all."
That's when they say the trooper went to his car – and returned with pliers.
He asked them to continue to try to remove the piercings themselves but they were unable.
Then Palacios said the trooper touched her.
"He came up to me and he got really close to it, and he was just staring," Palacios said. "He's like, 'I think it unscrews from the left side.' So then, without gloves or anything – and I could see dirt under his nails, it was extremely disgusting – he gets on there and he tries to twist it and he starts shaking from trying so hard and he ends up pulling it and ripping it and it starts bleeding."
Palacios said the pain was sharp.
"I'm like 'ow, ow, ow, ow, ow,' saying it really loud," she said. "He finally stops and backs away and he just stares at me. He didn't say sorry or anything or acted like it was a big deal."
She said she was bleeding but neither the trooper nor the jailers offered to get her medical help.
"It was extremely uncomfortable and uncalled for and I don't think he should have been anywhere near me," Palacios said.
Palacios said the piercing never did come out and she was finally allowed to keep it in.
Myers said a female jailer used the pliers to try to remove her piercing while the trooper was nearby.
"I feel like it's not right, what he did, at all," said Myers, whose father is a Fort Worth police sergeant and mother is a police dispatcher.
The women have hired Fort Worth attorney Curtis Fortinberry and are considering filing a lawsuit.
"He has violated every policy and procedure known to police work," said Fortinberry, a former Fort Worth officer. "That is just absolutely mind-boggling that he would do this."
Palacios later went to the hospital and expects her wound to heal.
The two women also were cited for having alcohol in the car and Palacios was charged with having a fake identification card.
They said three Texas Rangers interviewed them on Thursday and took photos of Palacios' injury.
Falls County Sheriff Ben Kirk and District Attorney Kathryn Gilliam did not return phone calls seeking comment.