HOUSTON (CN) - Texas sheriff's officers held down a woman at a gas station and threatened to break her legs while they searched her vagina for marijuana, she claims in Federal Court.
Charnesia Corley, 22, says Harris County sheriff's deputies pulled her over into a gas station parking lot at 10:30 p.m. on June 21, allegedly for rolling through a stop sign and not signaling.
The officers said they smelled marijuana, but didn't find any in her car, Corley says in the Feb. 12 lawsuit.
A male deputy then called for a female officer to come strip-search Corley, Corley told Houston's ABC affiliate KTRK in August.
"She tells me to pull my pants down. I said, 'Ma'am, I don't have any underwear on.' She says, 'Well, that doesn't matter. Pull your pants down,'" Corley told the news station.
Corley says in her lawsuit that the officers shined a flashlight at her genitals, then decided to do a cavity search.
"When one of the deputies tried to insert her fingers into Ms. Corley's vagina, Ms. Corley protested," the complaint states.
"At that point, the deputies forcibly threw Ms. Corley to the ground, while she was still handcuffed, pinned her down with her legs spread apart, threatened to break her legs, and without consent penetrated her vagina in a purported search."
Court records list Corley as 5 foot 4 inches and 120 pounds.
The officers claimed they found .02 ounces of marijuana, around half a gram, and arrested Corley for possession and resisting arrest, according to the lawsuit.
An officer stated in Corley's arrest report that she pushed an officer "with his [sic] hip" and kicked the same officer "with his [sic] foot." The misdemeanor charges were dismissed a week after Corley was interviewed by KTRK, court records show.
Corley says she filed a complaint with the sheriff's office, but that "to date, the deputies have received no disciplinary action for their involvement in the incident in question," the complaint states.
The sheriff's office did not respond to an email asking for comment on the lawsuit and if the officers were punished for the cavity search, which Corley says was filmed. "However, the deputies apparently turned off their microphones so that there is no audiotape of the incident," the complaint states.
Corley says the "egregious, humiliating and traumatizing" and "illegal" cavity search violated her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.
She seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, assault and battery, offensive physical conduct and infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Sam Cammack in Houston.
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