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.
a dash cam video of the incident on Monday, telling a
local news affiliate it was an 11-minute “rape by
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.
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
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,”
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
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.”