A Texas woman is suing her local police department after they strip-searched her during a traffic stop, which she says also included an invasive cavity search.
Charnesia Corley, 23, was pulling away from a gas station and jumped a red light, prompting police officers to pull her over, reports KPRC. The officers stated they smelled marijuana coming from Corley's vehicle and demanded to search both her person and the car.
Corley was handcuffed and patted down by a female police officer. The officer then removed Corley's pants and allegedly put her fingers inside Corley's vagina to search for marijuana.
"She tells me, 'Just bend over.' I hesitate," Corley explained, recalling the incident. "She shines a light on me ... She proceeds to stick her fingers toward my vaginal area ... I immediately pop up [and say], 'Ma'am what are you doing?'"
At that moment the officers believed Corley to be resisting arrest, prompting them to subdue Corley on the ground. Corley said the female officer then continued the cavity search.
Attorney Sam Cammack filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers for their actions against Corley, asking for a special prosecutor after original cases against the officers were dismissed, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"There has been no material change of fact," Cammack said. "If what those officers did to Miss Corley was not mistreatment -- did not amount to rape -- I don't know what is."
Cammack also said a cavity search should not be conducted under such circumstances, saying that such a search must be conducted in an environment outside of a traffic stop, according to The Guardian.
"They did a manual cavity search. It’s the most serious search you can do under our constitution and should be done in a sterile environment. You sure can’t do it in public by the side of the road. It’s unbelievable," Cammack said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez issued a statement regarding the incident with Corley, explaining that officers are prohibited from conducting strip searches without a proper warrant, reports the Houston Chronicle. He also noted that it was department policy to conduct all cavity searches in a safe and clean environment.
"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," Gonzalez added. "We hold the public's trust as sacred, and we will always strive to be worthy of that trust."
In 2013, the Department of Public Safety in Texas was required to pay two women $185,000 in damages after officers conducted a cavity search in plain view of passing traffic.