These Texas Police Officers Sexually Assaulted a Woman on Camera

What should have been a routine traffic stop in Texas went bad when sheriff’s deputies claimed they could smell marijuana in Charnesia Corley’s car.

First they demanded to search her car, and she agreed — as a black woman, she knew that standing up for her civil rights could get her killed. Then, they insisted on searching her. The deputies threw her to the ground, dragged her pants off and performed an invasive strip search in public — all on camera.

If you think this story ends with penalties for the sheriff’s deputies, think again.

At the time the search was performed, warrantless body searches were legal in Harris County, Texas. Though the district attorney says the search was conducted improperly, she describes it as “bad judgment,” rather than what Corley says it was: rape.

In 2015, Corley described the situation, describing it as ”degrading” to be treated so invasively in a public location in full view of passersby.

Several years before, Texas State Troopers had been called to account for a similarly humiliating roadside search — this time involving a pair of women stopped for littering. The state settled to the tune of $185,000. Both women were white, and the trooper involved was fired.

Law enforcement claimed that they found a small amount of marijuana — so little that she wouldn’t have been prosecuted for under current policies. Nonetheless, Corley was charged with possession and ”resisting arrest” — simply because she protested when the deputies moved in to make a violent, degrading search in humiliating, illegal and dangerous circumstances.

Furthermore, forcible penetration in an unclean environment can expose people to the risk of injury and infection.

The district attorney even took the case to a grand jury, but they declined to pursue the matter – a familiar theme in violence committed by U.S. law enforcement officers.

All three deputies involved are still working, and shockingly, the woman who performed the “search” was treated most leniently, because she claimed she was opposed to conducting it in the first place.

As a result, Corley and her attorney released the dashcam video, which is deeply disturbing. It shows a young woman being harassed, bullied and frightened, struggling to understand why she’s being targeted with such a profound violation of privacy.

Now Corley is bringing a civil suit, the only option remaining if the justice system won’t intervene in her case.

Corley’s situation touches upon an issue that’s often underreported in the media. The sheer number of deaths at the hands of law enforcement is so staggering and disturbing that the high rate of sexual assault involving law enforcement officers sometimes flies under the radar.

And as with deaths, there’s no formal system for tracking allegations of sexual assault, or convictions. We don’t know how many figures in law enforcement use their positions of power to rape, but we do know they tend to target people from marginalized backgrounds, such as transgender women and women of color.

Intimate partner violence involving law enforcement is another huge issue that’s also tied to sexual violence and extrajudicial killings. All three issues involve people who are given tremendous power and discretion —  and who choose to abuse that authority. This abuse is sometimes intergenerational in nature, as in the case of families with a long history employment in law enforcement. And it may corrupt entire law enforcement agencies, making it difficult for victims to seek justice.

Care2 members are calling for the district attorney to override the grand jury and bring charges in this case. While district attorneys usually follow the lead of the grand jury —  because it can indicate whether a case may be successfully prosecuted in court — they can opt to move forward anyway.

Such charges could also encourage Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who took office after the incident, to take disciplinary action.

Take Action!

Demand justice for Charnesia Corley by signing this Care2 petition. Urge the Police Chief and District Attorney to charge the three officers with sexual assault!

Photo credit: Screenshot

71 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Dallas N
Dallas Newton1 years ago

That look out officer should also be charged. Personally, I would discipline all deputies present for aiding and abetting a crime. The bunch of them acted as if they had all been gathered together for a human sacrifice. They were thoroughly enjoying this.

SEND
Jennifer H
Jennifer H1 years ago

Another police atrocity. There aren't enough good ones out there to outshine their "bad judgement".

SEND
Melania P
Melania P1 years ago

These beasts deserve to be in jail (if you ask me, they deserve to be killed). Rape, for me, is the worst crime you can commit. Shameful, shameful coming from the police, who are supposed to take care of the people. Just disgusting.

SEND
Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE1 years ago

I agree it was wrong to do so in public, but I would hate to dress up every day in a bullet proof vest.

SEND
Nicole Heindryckx

Someone commented that a vaginal examination SHOULD HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT BY A FEMALE POLICE OFFICER. I would very much appreciate that people, who want to comment seriously, first read the ENTIRE article, and not only the heading, and a line here and there. It is quit clearly stipulated that it was a female police officer wo carried out this vaginal search Quote : the woman who conducted the search..... unquote is clearly written in the 5th paragraph, just under the "quiz". So, please read at least ENOUGH before commenting wrong things. Thank you. And that was the only thing the Texas Police did right !!

And again A lot of thanks for all the people who have limited their COMMENTS to the usual "thanks" ; "thank you" ; "noted" ; "ty" ; thanks for sharing" or "signed". This really is a HUGE contribution to this article, and now other Care2 Members DO know what your opinion is on this matter, at least if you HAVE ANY OPINION AT ALL !!!! SAD, SAD, UTTERLY SAD PEOPLE !!!!! Some of you even do write such highly interesting comments several times on ONE particular article. If this is the way we are trying to make a better world for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and want to impress the latter with our "fighting spirit", you really have a very very very very very long way to go. I suggested Care2 not to publish such comments any longer. Hope they will consider my proposition and follow my demand.......

SEND
Nicole H

ANN MORAN : You wrote a very good comment on this. I have been raped 1 single time. Luckily, but it has hunted me for decades and 2 years later I had a lot of problems being with my boy friend to have sex. Each time, I saw the whole cinema before my eyes, over and over again., remembering each disgusting detail... I understand that some young women commit suicide after such a horrible act, specially if they can not turn to a good girl friend, her parents or a sister to talk about her feelings, which was the case with me. And it even did not take place on the public road, but in his big car, on a remote place, far away from the first houses / farm, and certainly at least 1 mile or more away from the public road. But these details are of no importance the moment this happens to you. And as I said, it was in this car, and not laying on the dirty ground, where this woman could easily catch an infestation.... Now there are specialized centers (at least in Belgium) where you can anonymously tell your story and psychologists are helping you as much as possible, without forcing you to make any declaration to the Police, in case you know who did it, but you are frightened to death, or if you have not the slightest idea who did it. And this help is available free of any CHARGE. The fact that you don't have 1 single €, or $ in your case, is of no importance. The help you get is TOTALLY FREE. Your parents are not in

SEND
Nicole Heindryckx

Police are supposed to protect us. Specially when violence is involved, they have the obligation to PROTECT WOMEN. What we see here is the contrary. Young women are thrown to the ground, their clothes are ripped off, and an 11 (ELEVEN) min. vaginal cavity search for drugs takes place. ELEVEN MINUTES, on the board of the road.... My God, these are not cops, these are rapists, racists against women, public offenders and most certainly I forget a certain number of description. We already knew they were racists against the Afro Americans, and that most of them are addicted to using their guns without even checking the real situation, and now we have this. These are not cops, these are adult gang members, but not for minor criminalities, but highly criminal acts. If someone else should do anything similar, he/she would go to jail for 5 or 10 years ?? But these cops not, of course not !! They were checking whether this woman had some drugs with her... If they really wanted to conduct a vaginal cavity search after having taken her to the police station, where she could undress properly, in the presence of FEMALE police officers ONLY . Is this really the moral standard in the U.S.A. right now. Well then, I am very happy to live in Europe, and not in the nr. 1 Country of the world. My ass !! Your cops' morality sinks below that of a barbarian. This is the lowest thug I have ever seen. And the big question is now : who is to co

SEND
Edo R
Edo R1 years ago

Thanks for sharing! Horrifying!

SEND
Jane L
Jane L1 years ago

I can't tell who are the good guys and the bad guys anymore. It seems that the supposed good guys are in fact the bad guys, perpetrating crimes they are supposed to protect us from. If the police want to stop the backlash the public has against them, they should be taking care of their own such as a case like this - rather than publish self-pitying videos like "blue racism" to win the support of the community they serve.

SEND