Three police officers in Harris County, Texas had been indicted after a forced strip and cavity search of a woman during a traffic stop two years ago. Now, after charges against two of the officers were dismissed and the other has yet to ever face criminal charges, images from police dashcam video are drawing an outcry all over again, and new charges may be on the way.
Charneisha Corley was a 21-year-old college student at the time, with no criminal record, her attorney Sam Cammack told Fox26. But Cammack says the cops were determined to get her for something, and crossed a line in the process. “One of the officers on the tape, he was talking to a passenger who was already in custody in the officer’s car and you could hear him telling that individual ‘Oh we are going to find something, even if we have to put our hands on her.'” The officers pulled her over for running a stop sign and insisted they smelled marijuana, Corley said after the incident.
The officers searched Corley’s clothing for contraband, and found nothing, but they didn’t stop there. The video, which has yet to be published in full, but viewed by the local station who posted still shots, shows the officers slamming Corley onto the ground of a parking lot, putting her head underneath a car, and pulling her pants down. After exposing Corley from the waist down in public, the cops then conducted a cavity search that reportedly lasted 11 minutes. Cammack described the search as “rape by cop.”
Harris County prosecutor Natasha Sinclair spoke out against the officers’ actions. “No one in this office stands by the search the way it was conducted. No one condones that,” Sinclair said. “No one thinks it’s appropriate. It should not have happened.” Still, Sinclair said that just because what happened was upsetting and wrong, that doesn’t make it a criminal offense. At the time, officers said that Corley consented to the search, yet they charged her with resisting arrest and possession of .02 ounces of marijuana.
Despite that statement, however, Sinclair’s office is reportedly in possession of “new evidence,” and pushed for a new indictment soon after they dropped the initial cases on August 4. Cammack is hoping a special prosecutor without any ties to Harris County law enforcement can be brought in to handle the case.
Note: This article has been updated to include the released video footage.