A Texas woman is suing police after she was subjected to a roadside strip-search for marijuana following a traffic stop.
Attorney Samuel Cammack filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Harris County, Texas police department on behalf of Charnesia Corley, 23, over a 2015 traffic stop in which Cammack said Corley had her constitutional rights violated by police conducting a warrantless body cavity search in which the officer “penetrated her vagina,” reports The Houston Chronicle.
The Harris County district attorney’s office dropped criminal charges against the two officers who conducted the search earlier in August, though Cammack has asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed in the case.
Cammack released a dash cam video of the incident on Monday, telling a local news affiliate it was an 11-minute “rape by cop.”
Corley — who was initially pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign in June 2015 — was detained by the officers after they “smelled marijuana” in her car. The officers then called for a female officer to perform a search after the officers said they found 0.02 ounces, or slightly more than half a gram, of marijuana in her car.
When the female officer arrived, after Corley waited approximately an hour-and-a-half, she told Corley to remove her pants so she could perform a “visual strip search,” according to the suit.
After Corley refused, the officers “forcibly threw Ms. Corley to the ground, while she was still handcuffed, pinned her down with her legs spread apart, threatened to break her legs, and without consent penetrated her vagina in a purported search for marijuana,” according to the suit.
“She pulled my pants down, and then told me to bend over,” Corley told CNN in 2015. “So, you know, I kind of hesitated… so I bent over, and she proceeded to stick her fingers in me.”
Corley was charged with possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, though the charges were later dropped. It’s not clear from the video — as the search is partially obscured by the vehicle’s door — whether or not the officers penetrated Corley, or whether or not they found marijuana.
An attorney for one of the two officers named in the civil suit, Robin McIlhenny, told The Houston Chronicle that Corley was “never penetrated,” and “never inappropriately handled.”
Ed Gonzalez, the Harris County Sheriff, released a statement on Monday regarding the civil suit.
“I understand and respect the community’s concerns regarding the parking lot search of a female suspect during a June 2015 traffic stop,” Gonzalez said. “I want to be emphatically clear that today’s Harris County Sheriff’s Office is fully committed to ensuring that every resident of our community is treated with dignity and respect, even if they are suspected of committing a crime.”
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