HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (FOX 26) - In a stunning new development involving a local case of alleged police brutality, criminal charges have been dropped against two Harris County Deputies involved in the 2015 body cavity search of a 21-year-old Houston woman.
Charneshia Corley has craved accountability every moment since Harris County deputies removed her clothing and conducted a protracted cavity search in the parking lot of a northside Texaco after a routine traffic stop.
The probing involved penetration of the most private parts of Corley’s body and it was done in public with male officers looking on.
"I can't even look at myself sometimes in the mirror because it hurts," said Corley in a 2015 interview with Fox 26.
The subsequent investigation under former District Attorney Devon Anderson led to criminal indictment of two deputies on charges of official oppression. But in a major turn of events, more than two years after the incident, Fox 26 has learned, prosecutors under District Attorney Kim Ogg first dismissed the cases against the officers and re-presented the evidence to an entirely different grand jury which decided there were insufficient grounds for criminal charges. It all happened in a single day, August 7.
So what changed? Fox 26 spoke with Assistant District Attorney Natasha Sinclair, head of the Civil Rights division.
"We discovered new and significant evidence that we felt an absolute duty to re-present to a Grand Jury. Based on that evidence I would have to assume, because we presented everything. We looked at everything fairly and thoroughly and we re-presented the case and I would assume based on what the heard they decided to no-bill the cases," said Sinclair.
Sinclair said the "new evidence" will not be revealed. But Corley’s attorney Sam Cammack says there is "zero new evidence" and further contends the entire case file against former deputies William Strong and Ronaldine Pierre has suddenly disappeared from official court records.
"We believe if another Grand Jury looks at the case they may even indict all three officers for forceable rape," said Cammack.
Cammack is set to release the entire disturbing 11-minute dash cam video of the cavity search. He says the public should watch what Charneshia endured and decide for themselves whether laws were broken and basic human rights trampled.
"When the public sees the video I think they will be disgusted, appalled and outraged that a police officer would be able to do this to a citizen, anybody in this County, anywhere in the United States. It was terrible," said Cammack, adding that the video show Corley was forced to place her ankles behind her ears while her genital area was searched.
While a tiny amount of marijuana was recovered during the search all criminal charges against Corley were dropped.
Corley is suing Harris County in Federal Court for $15 million. Cammack believes there is a connection between that financial exposure and the re-presentation of the case to the Grand Jury.
A spokesman for Harris County Sheriff's Office says Strong and Pierre have remained on the force assigned to administrative duty and their future status with department is under review.
"No one in this office stands by the search the way it was conducted. No one condones that. No one thinks it's appropriate. It should not have happened. however bad decisions, bad judgment may not rise to the level of a criminal offense," said Sinclair.