NEW MEXICO — A New Mexico woman suffered for weeks with painful urination and swollen, burning genitals after an officer repeatedly sprayed mace in her vagina to “punish” her, according to an ACLU lawsuit.
“It’s tantamount to torture,” Peter Simonson, the Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico said in an interview.
Marlene Tapia was apparently arrested for a drug-related issue.
She was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center, where two officers made her strip naked. They then forced her to bend over at the waist.
The officers claimed that Tapia had a “plastic baggie” in her vagina, but rather than sending her to medical staff to get it removed, one of the officers began spraying mace inside Tapia as punishment, according to the lawsuit.
“It’s just the maliciousness, the wanton disregard, wanton maliciousness that the corrections officer demonstrated,” said Simonson.
The officer who sprayed the chemical agent was reportedly disciplined. Simonson says the ACLU is proceeding with the lawsuit to “ensure that these sorts of things don’t happen to another person.”
A member of our community who goes by the name ‘OhSnap’ just did a follow-up investigation into this case and reports that the officers have not been fired:
“I just called the Metro Detention Center in NM (505-839-8700), and from what the control office says, both of these lovely ladies (Jennifer Stepp and Blanca Zapata) are STILL on the job and will be in at 3p New Mexico time.”