She had been pulled over for running a stop sign.
It’s been two years since 23-year-old Charneisha Corley was stopped, detained, and vaginally searched by Harris County deputies. However, newly released dashcam footage of her disturbing treatment by police is keeping her case alive despite the county’s prosecutor saying the search may not constitute a “criminal offense.”
In a nearly 17-minute-long video published by Corley’s attorney, Sam Cammack, Corley is seen being walked to the side of her car by a deputy with her hands tied behind her back and is then blocked from the camera’s view. Minutes later, she re-emerges and is pushed onto the ground by one of the deputies, and is visibly naked from the waist down. She then lays on her stomach for 11 minutes as deputies push her legs up and cavity search her.
According to Corley, via a Houston affiliate Fox 26, deputies slammed Corley on the ground, stuck her head underneath the vehicle, and pulled down her pants to search her vagina for the entire 11 minutes—all while in the public of a Texaco gas station parking lot. It’s tantamount to “rape by cop,” he said.
“I felt like they sexually assaulted me. I really do. I felt disgusted, downgraded and humiliated,” Corley told Houston affiliate ABC 13.
Corley had been pulled over that night, on June 21, 2015, while running an errand for her mother. According to Huffing Post, she had been pulled over and accused of running a stop sign when a deputy said he smelled marijuana in her car, allowing the cops to search her vehicle. When they didn’t find evidence in her car, the deputy summoned a female deputy was summoned to search Corley.
Though the investigators alleged they found 0.02 ounces of marijuana on Corley and charged her for possession and resisting arrest, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office later dropped the charges.
Corley then filed a multi-million dollar civil suit against the sheriff’s office, leading two of the deputies involved to be charged with official oppression. However, the charges were dropped on Aug. 4, the day the case was set for trial, and the case was re-presented to the grand jury because of “secret new evidence” obtained by the district attorney.
Harris County prosecutor Natasha Sinclair told Fox 26 that the DA’s office didn’t condone or support what happened to Corley, but called it “bad judgment [that] may not rise the level of a criminal offense.” In retaliation, Cammack released and uploaded the dashcam footage to his website. He’s also pushing for an independent prosecutor who doesn’t work for Harris County.
“There has been no new factual evidence to support dismissal of the case,” Cammack said.