Natalie Simms has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio after she was subjected to a public vaginal cavity search during which her tampon was pulled out.
The incident occurred on Aug. 8, 2016 as Simms sat on a street curb waiting for her boyfriend. The lawsuit states that she was talking on her cell phone when police approached her. It was later discovered that police had been investigating the area after receiving complaints about possible drug activity. A police detective reportedly said that he saw Simms and another woman walk underneath a highway underpass where it looked like they were selling drugs.
The police first obtained permission to search Simms’ car. In the meantime, a female officer was called to the scene to search Simms.
Once she looked through Simms’ clothes and didn’t find anything, detective Mara Wilson asked if she could remove the woman’s shorts.
“Officer Wilson was initially talking as if she were sitting down and having a cup of coffee with Natalie,” the suit said. “Unfortunately, this was not a meeting over coffee, and Officer Wilson’s decision as to how to conduct the search was about to take a turn for the worse.”
Wilson then told Simms to spread her legs and said “I’m going to ask you, do you have anything down here before I reach down here?”
Simms said she didn’t have anything down there and expressed concern about Wilson’s intent to examine her vagina, saying that she was on her period. Wilson told her that she would only look, not touch and then proceeded to pull down her pants and underwear. The suit alleges that’s when Wilson noticed the tampon string and pulled.
“Officer Wilson did so knowing that Natalie was on her period, and also knowing and seeing that Natalie had a menstrual pad in place,” the lawyers wrote.
The suit adds that Wilson told Simms to then 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.”
The lawsuit states that the police didn’t find anything illegal in Simms’ possession and she was eventually allowed to leave in her own car.
In 2018, Dean Malone, an attorney for Simms, said that,“Natalie suffered through a shocking display of what can occur when police power is unchecked.” “We intend to seek full damages available under the law and look forward to presenting Natalie’s horrible experience to a jury.”