Lawyer for Texas woman releases dashcam footage of alleged assault by police

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Today was the first day of a civil suit by Charnesia Corley against the Harris County police department for what her lawyers decide as a sexual assault by two sheriff's deputies in 2015.

A lawyer for Charnesia Corley has released a dashcam video that shows what they claim is two Harris County, Texas police officers, one male and one female, sexually assaulting their client during a roadside traffic stop in the form of a body cavity search to which Corley did not consent and for which they did not have a warrant.

In June 2015, sheriff's deputies pulled over Charnesia Corley, then 20, at a Texaco garage in Texas for alleged traffic violations. She was then handcuffed while they searched her car for illegal substances. As shown on the video, deputies then held Corley down, pulled off her clothes below the waist, and one female officer examined her with a flashlight for approximately eleven minutes. Corley says the deputy also put her fingers inside her vagina.

Corley's lawyer Sam Cammack said, "When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that's rape in any state that I know of."

After the incident, Corley was charged with possession of 0.02 ounces (about half a gram) of marijuana and resisting arrest, but both were later dropped.

Officers William Strong and Ronaldine Pierre were charged with official oppression, but a pair of grand juries decided not to take the matter to trial. It was not, at that time, illegal for deputies to perform what the lawsuit calls a "visual strip search" without a warrant. Corley is still legally permitted to sue for damages in civil court.

Andrea J Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, told the press, "When they're violating the bodies of black women, I think there's this perception in society that that's par for the course, that that's to be expected and that combines with these profiles of black women as drug couriers, drug concealers, as people who are always hiding drugs in some part of their body."

The two deputies are to resume active duty, according to their sheriff.

The state of Texas has already passed a law forbidding police from performing roadside body cavity searches, but it did not go into effect until after the incident with Corley.


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