The Huffington Post's Radley Balko has highlighted the case of a New Mexico woman who claims that a corrections officer sprayed mace on her vagina almost two years ago. The ACLU is filing a federal lawsuit on the woman's behalf.
The woman, Marlene Tapia, was reportedly strip searched after being arrested for a probation violation related to a drug case. It was during this search that Tapia claims her vagina was sprayed with a substance which Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico Peter Simonson says was mace.
According to court records, police arrested Tapia for a probation violation tied to a previous drug case. While at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Tapia said two officers strip searched her and asked her to bend over at the waist. That's when they noticed a plastic baggie protruding from Tapia's vagina.
Instead of taking Tapia to a doctor to have the baggie removed, she said one of the officers – Blanca Zapater – sprayed a chemical agent directly on her genitals twice.
Simonson said the chemical agent was mace.
Tapia said she suffered "severe pain that lasted for several weeks including burning, swollen genitals and painful urination," according to the court records.
As Balko rightly states:
And so this is where we are with the drug war. Government officials are shoving fingers, tubes, and cameras up rectums, sticking hands into vaginas, and spraying mace on genitals, all to protect us from ourselves -- to stop us from getting high. Feel safer?