New Mexico police have stepped across the line of definable brutality and into sadistic quarters with their latest scandal. Marlene Tapia, who in a federal lawsuit filed this week by the ACLU, says a Bernalillo County corrections officer brutalized her by spraying mace inside her vagina during a strip search.
This horrific incident, which Tapia claims caused her weeks of pain and infection, is “tantamount to torture,” said ACLU Executive Director, Peter Simonson during a recent interview with KOBR-TV. It has been two years since Tapia first contacted the organization about assisting with her case, but Simonson says it has taken the organization until now to obtain a substantial enough amount of ammunition to properly fight this battle – yet, he suggests they are still within the two-year statute of limitations.
Court documents indicate that in November of 2011, Tapia was transported to the Metropolitan Detention Center on a probation violation. It was here that corrections officers Jennifer Stepp and Blanca Zapater were ordered by Sergeant Angela Sena to take Tapia to the shower and conduct a strip search. Tapia was ordered to remove of all her clothing and bend over at the waist, so that officers could inspect her genitals for smuggled contraband.
It was in this compromising position that officers spotted a plastic baggie poking out of Tapia’s vagina. But rather than seek medical attention to properly have the suspicious protrusion removed, Zapater, instead, made the twisted decision to spray her genitals twice with a chemical agent that was later determined to be mace. In fact, Zapater may have continued to torture Tapia had it not been for Sergeant Sena stepping in to stop the madness.
To the best of his knowledge, Simonson says the ACLU has never defended against such an extreme and animalistic case of human disregard. “It’s just the maliciousness, the wanton disregard, wanton maliciousness that the corrections officer demonstrated,” he said. “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.”
Metropolitan Detention Center policy states: “If evidence shows that an item is in the body cavity of an inmate he/she will be referred to the Contract Medical Provider for treatment” and “Chemical agents are only used when there is a threat to the safety of staff or inmates.”
Simonson says Zapater clearly violated Tapia’s Constitutional rights, as well as the rules established by her employer. Oddly enough, while the lawsuit claims that Zapater did receive disciplinary action for her Nazi coochee tactics, she was not terminated from her position at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
Although the ACLU does not make it a part of their practice to seek financial compensation, Siminson says it is important for the organization to pursue these types of rotten cases in order to continue to protect the Constitutional freedoms of the United States.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.