Jennifer Flores has filed a lawsuit against the New York Police Department, claiming police refused to give her sanitary products while in custody for 13 hours.
The lawsuit stems back to an incident that occurred in October 2016. Flores saw NYPD officers questioning teens in a park and stepped in to help. She said she advised the teens of their rights and then was arrested on charges of obstructing justice.
When Flores arrived at the 108th precinct, she said she knew she had to change her tampon. After she asked a male officer for a tampon, he told her that they didn’t have any.
The officer went to confirm with a woman on staff that they didn’t have any tampons or sanitary pads to give Flores. He then allegedly said, “There’s a bathroom there and there’s toilet paper. Figure it out.’”
Flores then contacted a lawyer, Kenneth Belkin, and told him to bring a tampon to the precinct.
“It’s totally unbelievable that the NYPD doesn’t have tampons. They certainly have first aid and would bring Band-Aids, then certainly they should have or bring tampons,” Belkin said.
Unfortunately, Belkin couldn’t get to the precinct for another six hours. Flores said blood had soaked through her underwear during that time and she was humiliated.
“For me to not know when it would arrive or if I would have the opportunity to ask him to bring it to me — I didn’t know what to do. I was nervous and scared — scared that I was going to get an infection,” Flores tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I tried to put as much toilet paper as I could but my underwear was ruined and bloody. I could actually smell it. No one should have to smell the blood soaking through their underwear because they didn’t have a tampon available.”
Belkin eventually brought Flores a tampon and her cased was later dismissed.
Flores said she filed the lawsuit so that other women wouldn’t have to go what she went through and to encourage NYPD officers to learn why providing period products to citizens is important.
“We’re in the 21st century and women shouldn’t be treated this way,” Flores said. “Whether you’re a good or bad person, no one deserves to go through this.”