Did I step through a time warp?
How is it we live in an age when Blacks are still routinely discriminated against, where from the highest federal offices white supremacists are encouraged to enact hatred and violence, where police officers who engage in blatant gratuitous brutality are not prosecuted?
Another Black woman has become the victim of police violence, and, of course, the officers walked away uncharged.
A Texas grand jury acquitted Harris County, Texas sheriff’s deputies Ronaldine Pierre and William Strong of official oppression of Charnesia Corley, who accused the officers of subjecting her to an extensive roadside strip search in which she was vaginally violated.
Now Corley’s attorney, Sam Cammack, has released dashcam video of the incident he says demonstrates Corley’s treatment as a form of rape, and he wants an independent prosecutor to look into the case.
A federal civil rights trial is set for January.
Sam Cammack said:
“When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that’s rape in any state that I know of.”
Wait, think I hear some screaming coming from my right.
“She must have done something to deserve it!”
Well, if we consider running a stop sign and failing to use turn signals appropriate justification to strip a woman naked in a Texaco parking lot, force her to bend over, and subject her to an eleven-minute “examination” in which a female officer sticks fingers into her vagina and anus, then perhaps.
Most civilized societies would not agree, though.
I’m willing to bet if we heard about this occurring in other country, we would be calling the police “savages” and “barbarians.” Oh, right…
We have laws protecting people from cruel and unusual punishment, as we do guaranteeing protection from warrant-less searches.
Corley’s federal lawsuit against Harris County alleges:
“When one of the Deputies tried to insert her fingers into Ms. Corley’s vagina, Ms. Corley protested. 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 for marijuana.”
Corley was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of 0.02 ounces of marijuana and resisting arrest. Harris County district attorney’s office then dropped the charges.
Andrea J. Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, argues against the knee-jerk reaction that some people just deserve whatever treatment police deem necessary.
“When they’re violating the bodies of black women, I think there’s this perception in society that that’s par for the course, that that’s to be expected and that combines with these profiles of black women as drug couriers, drug concealers, as people who are always hiding drugs in some part of their body. And so I think those things kind of combine in the minds of grand jurors to: ‘Well, isn’t this how we wage the war on drugs, isn’t this what we think black women are doing all the time anyway? So we’re not going to hold this officer liable for basically doing the job we told them to do.’”
As much as there is cause for concern, there is also cause for hope.
Texas lawmakers passed a bill that went into effect a couple of months after Corley’s arrest that prohibits officers from conducting unwarranted roadside body cavity searches.
However, in Trump’s ‘Merica with Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as attorney general ramping up the drug war, we face an increase in this type of treatment against minorities.
About it, Andrea J. Ritchie says:
“It’s unfortunately a very consistent characteristic of the war on drugs. t’s a concern as the federal government, particularly [the attorney general] Jeff Sessions, talk about ramping that up, that we’ll be seeing more and more of the kind of searches that Charnesia describes.”
Watch the dashcam footage of the full roadside cavity search: Please note that the footage shows the entire cavity search including the before and after.
What you are about to watch is graphic, and may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.