Texas police have once again sexually assaulted an innocent citizen in their persistent effort to rid the streets of marijuana.
Earlier last month, Charnesia Corley was pulled over by a Harris County sheriff’s deputy for a minor traffic infraction. According to reports, when the officer approached the vehicle, he claimed to smell marijuana. However, during a search, which was allegedly conducted upon her permission, the officer found nothing illegal inside the car.
In the meantime, Corley was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the deputy’s police cruiser waiting for the overzealous officer to come down off his power trip long enough to realize that he was harassing a regular person and not some cutthroat drug dealer. However, much to her dismay, the shakedown was not over. The whole affair quickly took a turn for the despicable and creepy when the cop claimed he could smell marijuana permeating from her body.
He then summoned a female officer to the scene to strap on a rubber glove and conduct a cavity search.
In the middle of a gas station parking lot, the female officer ordered Corley to pull her pants down. Not wishing to bare her private areas to everyone walking in and out of a Texaco, Corley refused, telling the officers that she was not wearing any underwear. That didn’t sit well with the female officer, who then had her male counterpart assist in bending Corley over, while she poked and prodded in every orifice below her waist.
Now, in every part of the United States we’ve ever visited, holding someone down against their will and violating them under even the slightest protest is called rape. But apparently because the officers made the discovery of around .02 ounces of marijuana, about a half a gram, the higher ups in the police department are claiming the two were justified.
Yet, Corley, who was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and resisting arrest (because she refused to be fingered in a parking lot), argues that the experience was much worse than anything she could have ever imagined and that she is scared for life.
“I feel like they sexually assaulted me! I really do. I feel disgusted, downgraded, humiliated,” Corley told KTRK.
Attorney Sam Cammack, who is representing Corley in this matter, says they are planning to file a federal lawsuit because “what these officers did out there at the Texaco station was unconscionable” and that “it’s undeniable that the search is unconstitutional.”
Rebecca Robertson, with the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, agrees.
“A body cavity search without a warrant would be constitutionally suspect,” she told the Houston Chronicle. “But a body cavity search by the side of the road…I can’t imagine a circumstance where that would be constitutional.”
Interestingly, even Robert Goerlitz, who oversees the Harris County Deputies Organization, is perplexed over the details of this case. He told the Chronicle that it is bizarre for a cavity search to be conducted in public, and that they are typical only given at headquarters after an arrest has been made.
“I can’t really say I’ve ever heard of that happening before,” he said. “That’s kind of shocking to me.”
Nevertheless, Thomas Gilleland, a spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said the officers handled the situation properly and that Corley actually gave them permission to do a cavity search, if they “needed to.”
It should be noted that Texas cops seem to have a problem keeping their hands out of people’s vaginas and anuses in the name of prohibition.
Earlier this year, Jenifer Stelly filed a federal lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety after a trooper gave her a cavity search along a busy stretch of highway. It is incidents like these that have forced the state legislature to pass a new law making it mandatory for a warrant to be issued before a search is conducted.
Fortunately, this new law goes into effect next month, giving Texas law enforcement only a matter of weeks to get in a few more cheap thrills courtesy of the drug war. [link: ]