The search of Charnesia Corley was called “rape by cop” by her attorney, reports Democracy Now! Video of the June 2015 traffic stop, released on Monday, shows the deputies roughly shoving Corley facedown onto the pavement.
Corley had been pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign.
Deputies Threatened To Break Her Legs
Charnesia said the officers removed her pants, threatened to break her legs, and penetrated her vagina with their fingers, without her consent, as they “searched for marijuana.”
Corley’s lawyer, Samuel Cammack III, is calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
“A 21-year-old African-American, female, college student, had never had any criminal history, never been in trouble,” Cammack said.
Corley Lawyer Releases Disturbing Dash Cam Video
On Monday, Cammack released police dash cam video that he said shows law enforcement subjecting Corley, a 21-year-old college student at the time, to a humiliating public body cavity search.
The video portrays an ordeal endured by Corley that will cause many to question why the deputies were cleared of criminal charges — and why a third officer was never charged at all, reports Greg Groogan at Fox 26 Houston
After a search of Corley’s clothing turned up nothing, the deputies decided to take their search to the next level.
An officer “body slammed Miss Corley, stuck her head underneath the vehicle and completely pulled her pants off, leaving her naked and exposed in that Texaco parking lot,” Cammack said, reports David Lohr at The Huffington Post.
Ankles Behind Her Ears, Spread Eagle
The female officers shone a flashlight onto her exposed genital area to conduct a “visual strip search,” according to the plaintiff’s complaint.
“They then took Miss Corley and placed both ankles behind her ears spread eagle position and started to search for something in Miss Corley’s cavity in her vaginal area.”
According to the video, the veginal probing went on with Corley’s legs in the air for at least 11 excruciating minutes before she was allowed to emerge from beneath the car and cover her naked body.
“If what those officers did to Miss Corley was not mistreatment — did not amount to rape — I don’t know what is,” attorney Cammack said.
Corley: ‘That Was Extreme’
Corley can be heard saying on the video, after the search:
“That was extreme, to pull my clothes down, in front of people. People were watching. You didn’t see people walking around?
Cops claimed they found 0.02 ounces (that’s half a gram) of cannabis on Corley. But attorney Cammack said there was no marijuana on his client, reported Brian Rogers at the Houston Chronicle last year.
Corley was charged for “resisting arrest” and possession of marijuana, both misdemeanors, but the Harris County District Attorney’s Office later dropped all charges. They claimed she pushed a deputy with her hip and kicked a deputy with her foot.
Two Deputies Indicted Last YearTwo of the deputies involved in the vaginal search were indicted in June 2016, charged with official oppression.
Ronaldine Pierre, 33, and William Strong, 36, were indicted on a class A misdemeanor in the search, reported Brian Rogers at the Houston Chronicle at the time.
Those charges were dropped on August 4, leading attorney Cammack to post the video on his website. “Once the community sees this video, they’re going to be outraged, disgusted,” he told Houston’s KTRK-TV.
Corley also filed a multi-million dollar federal civil lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for violating her civil rights.
Running An Errand For Her Mother
Corley said she was running an errand for her ailing mother when deputies pulled her over. They accused her of running a stop sign, then one of the deputies claimed her smelled marijuana in the car. That’s probable cause for a search in Texas.
After finding nothing in the car, the deputy summoned a female officer and things went (literally) south.
“They sexually assaulted, raped me and molested me,” Corley said.
‘No One Thinks It’s Appropriate’
While Harris County Prosecutor Natasha Sinclair said she doesn’t condone what happened, she claims it didn’t amount to a criminal act.
“No one in this office stands by the search the way it was conducted,” Sinclair said.
“No one thinks it’s appropriate. It should not have happened. However bad decisions, bad judgment may not rise the level of a criminal offense.”
Charges Dismissed On Trial Day For ‘Secret’ ReasonsCharges against the deputies were dismissed on August 4, the same day the case was set for trial. Within minutes, the case was quickly re-presented to a grand jury, with what the DA’s office claims was “new evidence” which must remain “secret.”
“It was the duty of our prosecutors to present important new evidence that was not previously presented to a grand jury that considered the case under the previous administration,” claimed Dane Schiller, a spokesman for the DA’s Office.
“After being presented all the evidence, a grand jury of citizens representing the community, determined that no crime had been committed.”
‘No New Factual Evidence To Support Dismissal’
“There has been no new factual evidence to support dismissal of the case,” Cammack said.
According to Cammack, the “new evidence” was just medical records the state already had.
“They were already indicted and set for trial under the old administration and the new administration no bills them, finds a grand jury that will no bill them and they claim it’s based on new evidence.”
Deputies Escape Any Real Consequences
“I feel terrible for what happened to Miss Corley,” claimed Sinclair. “It should never have happened and unfortunately we are in the business of prosecuting criminal offenses and though it may not be criminal, it doesn’t mean she won’t receive justice.”
Be that as it may, the deputies involved are still on the Harris County Sheriff’s force. Though they’ve been on administrative duty since being indicted last year, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said now that charges have been dismissed, he will “re-evaluate their assignments.”
The civil case continues in federal court.