The City of San Antonio has approved a $205,000 settlement to Natalie Simms, 40, as compensation for a police officer removing her tampon during a roadside vaginal cavity search, the New York Times reports.
In 2016, San Antonio police officer Mara Wilson was searching Simms for illegal drugs. Simms, who did not have any contraband, agreed to the search, but told Wilson that she was on her period. The officer told Simms that she would just look, and told her to spread her legs. Wilson then shined a flashlight into Simms’ underwear, reached in and pulled out her tampon, with 5 male officers standing nearby.
It is illegal in Texas to strip-search a person without their consent or a warrant, and body cavity searches must not be conducted in public view.
Simms filed a federal lawsuit against the city for violating her constitutional rights, and also against the police officer, who ran her fingers over Simms vaginal lips and told her she was “very hairy,” Insider.com reports.
“No amount of money will replace what’s been taken away from Natalie, which is her dignity,” Dean Malone, a lawyer for Ms. Simms, told the Times. “What matters to Natalie is at least an acknowledgment that she was harmed.”