A 21-year-old woman from Harris County in Texas believes that after being arrested on suspicion of illegally possessing marijuana, she was the victim of sexual assault when a deputy conducted a vaginal cavity search in public.
On June 21 around 10:30 p.m., Charnesia Corley was stopped by a deputy for allegedly running a stop sign, according to local ABC affiliate KTRK.
Corley had been on the way to the store to pick something up for her mother, who was sick.
Sam Cammack, Corley's attorney, told BuzzFeed News that the deputy, who was later identified as William Strong, smelled marijuana when he approached her vehicle, ordered her to exit, and then placed her handcuffed in the back of his patrol car.
Cammack said the deputy detected the same smell in his car when he returned to it, and at that point called a female deputy to perform a body cavity search.
The female deputy, Ronaldine Pierre, ordered Corley to pull her pants down, but she refused, saying she was not wearing underwear.
"'Well, that doesn't matter,'" Corley recalled Pierre saying on KTRK.
Pierre told Corley to open her legs, and threatened to "break them" if she didn't, Cammack told BuzzFeed News.
Cammack said that a second female deputy was called to the scene to assist in Corley's apprehension.
Corley initially hesitated. Cammack said Pierre unzipped and pulled her pants down, and told her to bend over.
"She tried to stick her hand inside of her," Cammack said.
The two female officers wrestled Corley to the ground while one sat on her back. They then spread Corley's legs open and stuck their fingers inside her vagina.
"I feel like they sexually assaulted me," Corley told KTRK, adding that she felt "disgusted, downgraded, humiliated."
The Texaco gas station where the incident took place sits at a busy intersection in town, Cammack said. No witnesses have come forward, and his office is in the process of obtaining the gas station's security camera footage.
Cammack said that Corley has been charged with resisting a search and possession of marijuana. After she submits an internal affairs complaint, he will file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
On Aug. 14, the Associated Press reported that the charges against Corley, drug possession and resisting arrest, had been dropped.
"In over 9,000 criminal cases, I've never heard of anything like that happening, ever," he told BuzzFeed News. "It's not even about what they supposedly found, it's about what they did to do it."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the sheriff's officials for more information.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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