The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit that, if true, would stand as one of the most grotesque and vicious cases of police abuse in recent memory. Marlene Tapia says that she was arrested and forced to strip naked for a contraband examination. The officers at the Metropolitan Detention Center (Bernalillo County New Mexico) claimed that she had a plastic baggie in her vagina and, according to the lawsuit, forced her to bend over and as punishment sprayed mace inside of her vagina.
The lawsuit identifies the officer who sprayed the mace as Blanca Zapater and said that she sprayed the mace twice.
Peter Simonson, the Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico has publicly denounced the actions for its “maliciousness.” The woman was in pain for weeks.
Reports say that the officer who sprayed the mace has been “disciplined” but what does that mean? If this is true, why would the officer not be fired and criminally charged?
We have obviously not heard the side of the police in the case, but the ACLU is not known to file frivolous lawsuits.
If the allegations are true, this would constitute a form of torture. It would raise serious questions not only about the potential criminal charges for the officer but the terminations of supervisors who felt that this was a mere matter for “discipline” rather than termination. If discipline was ordered, it would appear to confirm that the mace was not used for self-protection. If so, why was it used?