A lawyer in Houston has released dash cam footage of a 2015 stop in which sheriff’s deputies forcibly removed a woman’s pants during a cavity search in a cannabis possession case.
Attorney Sam Cammack, who represents the woman in the video, issued the video as he requests a special prosecutor to be assigned to the case, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The local district attorney’s office already dismissed charges of official oppression against the two officers in the video.
The video, which is partially obstructed, shows the two deputies pinning Charneshia Corley down behind a car door and then her pants coming down. That’s extreme behavior, especially considering that all the police found during the entire traffic stop was enough marijuana to charge the woman with possession.
The possession charge against Corley, along with a charge of resisting arrest, was later dropped.
At a news conference, appearing alongside Black Lives Matter activists, Cammock said the deputies’ behavior constituted not just oppression, but sexual assault. “If what those officers did to Miss Corley was not mistreatment – did not amount to rape – I don’t know what is.”
The deputies have maintained that they committed no wrongdoing. Their lawyer even claims that the video Cammock released clears them. “She was never penetrated; she was never violated in that way or inappropriately handled,” said attorney Robin McIlhenny.
McIlhenny also claims that Corley’s pants fell down on their own because they were baggy.
In the video, Corley can be heard questioning the deputies for their behavior. “That was extreme, to pull my clothes down, in front of people,” Corley says. The deputy responds, “It was a narcotics search, OK? And you did have narcotics on you. If you had been honest from the beginning. … You escalated it. I gave you several outs.”
Last year, Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, claimed that Castile’s possession of marijuna warranted deadly force, since he “was probably a drug dealer.”
Photo via Flickr user Christopher Schmidt