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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

YWCA: Justice for Charnesia Corley

Press Release –

BACKGROUND

This week, dashcam footage was released from an invasive, lengthy roadside body cavity search of then-20-year-old Black college student, Charneshia Corley, who was pulled over on June 21, 2015 in Houston for allegedly running a stop sign. The video shows Corley being searched with the rear passenger-side door open, partially obscuring the camera’s view; she is examined on the ground, naked below the waist, for about 11 minutes. A federal civil rights lawsuit against Harris County alleges that after Corley protested the invasive search, deputies forcibly threw her on 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.”

Two of the deputies involved in the body cavity search were charged last year with “official oppression”, but the charges were dropped earlier this month; a third was never charged at all. In response to a previous incident, Texas lawmakers passed a bill that prohibits officers from conducting roadside body cavity searches without a search warrant; the measure went into effect a few months after Corley’s arrest.

STATEMENT BY YWCA USA INTERIM CEO CASEY HARDEN

“We are heartbroken and outraged by what happened to Charnesia Corely who suffered a horrifying sexual assault by Texas police officers in 2015 and has received no justice to date. While we commend the state of Texas for changing the laws regarding roadside searches, we believe justice was not served to Charnesia. We know that racial profiling, violence, and state-sanctioned sexual assault by police is a common occurrence for Black women and girls in this country. Officers are rarely held accountable for violence against women of color – this must change. We are joining the call for an independent investigation as an avenue to justice for Charnesia. Without justice and accountability, life-threatening misogyny and racism will continue to endanger the lives of women of color.”

STATEMENT BY YWCA HOUSTON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALLISON BOOKER-BROOKS, MBA, LBSW

“The sexual assault that Charnesia Corely endured should never have happened, plain and simple. That Texas law changed following her case even more clearly illustrates how unjust this assault was. Black women are too often presumed guilty and met with violence simply because of the color of our skin. This type of bias, whether it’s intentional or not, has no place in Houston. Together with 215 YWCAs across the country and YWCA USA, we are committed to eliminating racism and empowering women, so that violence like this does not continue.”

About YWCA USA

YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families.


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