Cops in New Mexico repeatedly sprayed a woman’s vagina with mace after she was arrested for drugs. They allegedly did this to “punish” her.
The woman, Marlene Tapia, was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center after her arrest. Next, officers stripped her to search for drugs. They made her bend over and then claimed she had a plastic bag containing drugs in her vagina.
Officers should have subsequently had medical staff remove the bag from Tapia — but they did not do this.
Instead, an officer “punished” the woman by spraying her vagina with mace. That officer, Blanca Zapater, allegedly did this several times in a row.
Tapia is being represented by an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Peter Simonson, the Executive Director of New Mexico’s ACLU branch, is disgusted by what happened. He said, “It’s tantamount to torture. It’s just the maliciousness, the wanton disregard, wanton maliciousness that the corrections officer demonstrated. This is the kind of chemical that is intended to be sprayed on other parts of the body, to cause pain, but to spray it on the very most sensitive part of a person’s body only doubles the pain.”
After being sprayed, Tapia suffered from immense pain and severely swollen genitals.
Zapater has been punished. Although her specific punishment is unknown, Zapater remains on staff at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
The ACLU is bringing their lawsuit is to “ensure that these sorts of things don’t happen to another person.”
Here are the court records regarding the incident:
This case is only the latest in a string of recent controversial actions by New Mexico police. Earlier this month, cops in the state forced enemas and cavity searches on several drivers for minor traffic violations.
How can we exist in a relatively safe society but still be able to hold our law enforcement accountable?