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Cruel And Unusual?

BERNALILLO, NM – The ACLU and Marlene Tapia are filing a federal lawsuit against Bernalillo County after an officer strip searched her two years ago and pepper sprayed her vagina. [contextly_sidebar id=”558b351ae76faac5bbdcd7f3d9f0ad22″]

“It’s tantamount to torture,” the Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico Peter Simonson said.

Police arrested Tapia for a probation violation tied to a previous drug case. While at the detention center, police reportedly strip searched her and asked her to bend over at the waist. They noticed a plastic baggie dangling from her vagina. Instead of calling for a doctor to do the removal, Officer Blanca Zapater sprayed mace on her genitals twice.

Tapia reported severe burns, pain and suffering for weeks. Simonson of the ACLU said he’s never seen anything like this before. “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.”

They believe that not only was jail policy violated, but basic constitutional rights. Tapia was cooperative with officers and did not resist them. The ACLU is not seeking compensation on the case, simply to assert that in the future there will be more constitutional protections against this type of behavior.

Officer Zapater was disciplined but remains on staff.

  • Alden Smith

    Thats horrible.

  • ♞ Castle Bravo ♞


  • Mike Okeefe

    Him still being on the force is ridiculous and the main problem here. I guess this time in NM they were able to avoid surgery and repeated anal cavity searches. Sounds like she may have gotten off easy for NM standards these days.

    • Freeman1776

      its not a “him”, it was a woman correctional officer, its mentioned at the end of the video piece.

  • Nick L. Gale

    Then the cops wonder why people hate them so much. They cover-up for their corrupted members, when he should in jail for assault.

  • Michele Straka Bryant

    having a plastic baggie hanging out of your crotch has never been justifiable grounds for making a person in the face, let alone in her vaginal area. what, were they afraid of what was going to crawl out of there? I say we tie the attending officers to the ground spread-eagled and mace their junk. then we’ll review the appropriate use of mace, shall we?

    • richard

      Nice. So we assault them for assault someone. Perhaps we pass judgement on everything you ever did in the same way. Nope that would be wrong. Kind of like your comment. Cop haters need to keep their opinions to themselves.

      • Michele Straka Bryant

        Hey Richard, my father was a cop for 32 yrs in one of the worst crime areas in the city of Cleveland Ohio. He would have never done this kind of thing to a suspect. His nickname was Straight Steve because of the way he treated everyone. I am far from a cop hater, just an asshole hater, whatever work they do. What they did was abuse, purely because they could do what they wanted. Maybe we should let you suffer the same and see if you still think it was called for. My dad raised me better than that, to abuse other people simply because I was in a position of power. So let’s make you that vulnerable and see how you like it. Wouldn’t be so funny then, would it? I guess we should call you a human hater.

      • Gilles Jacob

        As should cop lovers.

        • Freeman1776

          Good answer Giles!

      • Freeman1776

        Its not an “assault” on the police, but calling them accountable for unjust treatment of their charges, the inmates. You rise to their defense without giving any thought to the cruelty of the story. You must be a cop yourself!

  • Tod Cowper

    Another example of our police acting like Nazi’s.

  • richard

    News flash people. While this was horrible, I agree. This woman had committed a felony by bringing contraband into the jail. Commenting on having a doctor remove it is stupid. I am sure plenty of things and been removed from there without the help of a physician. Should the officer be fired? Probably. Was the woman being cooperative? Heck NO! That statement in the story is a lie. Was she fighting them? I doubt it. Wake up people. Bad behavior does not justify other bad behavior. The officer should be terminated for doing it that way but we sit here passing judgment and we were not there. Very easy to see it this way when we were not there. Nick L. Gale makes the statement “then the cops wonder why people hate them so much”. People hate the police because they are the ones there when YOU have done something wrong. They are no different than any other group of people in America. They have just as many scum bags as any other profession with the possible exception of politicians.

    • Michele Straka Bryant

      I have met more asshole cops in the many years I have been associated with law enforcement than I care to think about, including one who pulled me over literally because he didn’t like the bumper sticker on my husband’s car. He never even called in my license or plates or anything. How do I know? Having a cop for a father who called the asshole’s supervisor can be very helpful. He figured he’d just give this young girl all by herself driving home after work a hard time for kicks. Assholes exist everywhere, having a badge is no guarantee they’re any less an asshole than the next guy.

  • Freeman1776

    Speaking of asshole cops, maybe this correctional officer needs to have the end of a broom stick shoved up her asshole for starters.