A woman who had her bloody tampon pulled out by a police officer in a roadside stop is now in line for a $205,000 payout.
Natalie Simms, 40, sued the city of San Antonio, Texas and ex-Detective Mara Wilson — who removed Simms’ tampon despite being told she was on her period.
Simms was sitting on a side street waiting for her boyfriend in August 2016 when police arrived and asked to search her and her vehicle, believing she might have illegal drugs.
Dashcam footage shows Detective Wilson searching Simms’ pockets before asking her to “spread your legs.”
In the transcript of the footage, Detective Wilson said she was just planning to “look.”
When asked if she was hiding anything in her vagina, Simms said “no,” but then told Detective Wilson that she was on her period.
Detective Wilson repeatedly asked Simms if she was wearing a tampon, saying: “I just want to make sure that’s what it is.”
“She pulled open Natalie’s pants and underwear and used her flashlight to look at the area,” the lawsuit states.
“Officer Wilson chose to reach into Natalie’s pants and pull the string attached to a tampon.”
The tampon was removed on a public road with five male officers nearby, the lawsuit states.
“It’s full of blood, right? Why would you do that?” Simms asked.
“I don’t know. It looked like it had stuff in there,” Detective Wilson replied.
Detective Wilson then commented that Simms is “very hairy” and then asked her to turn around and spread her legs again.
“Officer Wilson had violated Natalie vaginally and now it appeared that she might violate Natalie anally,” the suit said.
“She was doing so without a warrant, with no medical personnel present and on a public street in view of several people as well as those passing by.”
Simms protested, asking Wilson if they could go to a police station to complete the search noting that they’re in public.
The officer said no, adding that “these are all the places that everybody hides stuff, so this is where we have to search.”
It’s unclear whether the second cavity search happened, but when the ordeal was finished, Simms was allowed to leave in her vehicle.
Officers did not find anything illegal during the search.
“Even though Natalie was allowed to leave the scene, a part of her dignity and self-worth was left behind,” the lawsuit said.
Officials did not find that Detective Wilson violated any city procedures with her search, according to the lawsuit.
She retired nine months after the incident with Simms.
After Simms filed her lawsuit, the city of San Antonio offered her a $205,000 settlement.
The city council is expected to approve of the payment on Thursday.