On Thursday, the city of San Antonio is planning to vote on a $205,000 settlement in connection with a roadside search of a Black woman who claims a cop pulled a tampon out of her vagina in plain sight in 2016.
Natalie D. Simms filed a federal lawsuit against the Texas town after she endured having her vaginal cavity searched by a female officer. Simms was sitting on the side of a street, minding her business while Black, when she was approached the officer, who in turn was acting on the request of another male cop.
Simms said she was talking on the phone, waiting for her boyfriend when the cop accosted her. She gave the officer consent to search her car, according to the lawsuit. But after the cop found nothing illegal, he took matters further and called a female cop to the scene to perform a body search, the lawsuit states, according to News4Jax.
Detective Mara Wilson, who has since retired, arrived and carried out the body search as male officers watched. The search was seen partially on body camera video.
Simms contends in the lawsuit that she did not consent to the invasive vaginal search. Wilson pulled down the victim’s pants and underwear and proceeded to pull a bloody tampon out of her private part, the lawsuit claims.
According to the lawsuit, here is the transcript of the conversation between the two.
WILSON: “Uh-huh. Are you wearing a tampon, too?”
WILSON: “Okay. I just want to make sure that’s what it is. Is that a tampon?”
SIMMS: “Come on. Yes.”
*Wilson pulls tampon out*
WILSON: “Huh? Is that a tampon?”
SIMMS: “It’s full of blood, right? Why would you do that?”
WILSON: “I don’t know. It looked like it had stuff in there.”
SIMMS: “There ain’t nothing in there.”
Wilson also followed up by making a crude comment about the amount of Simms pubic hair. She also refused to grant Simms’ repeated requests to do the body search in private at a police station, the lawsuit states.
Simms was ultimately allowed to leave after the harrowing ordeal. She filed the lawsuit in March 2018.
The city is planning to pay the settle from its self-insurance liability fund, if approved.
Read the full lawsuit.