COSA approves $205K settlement after SAPD officer pulled out woman's tampon on side of road
Officer conducted vaginal search on side of road, according to lawsuit
SAN ANTONIO – UPDATED THURSDAY:
The San Antonio City Council on Thursday agreed to pay a local woman $205,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by her against the San Antonio Police Department in 2018.
“We evaluate cases and look for potential resolutions without the necessity of proceeding to trial. We were able to resolve this matter with this proposed settlement and believe it to be in the best interest of all involved," said City Attorney Andy Segovia.
The city of San Antonio is scheduled to vote Thursday on a possible $205,000 settlement for a woman who claims a San Antonio police officer pulled out her tampon and searched her vaginal cavity on a public street in August 2016.
Natalie D. Simms filed a federal lawsuit against the city of San Antonio after she was approached by police while sitting on the side of a public street, talking on the phone and waiting for her boyfriend.
Simms had driven her car to the area and consented to a vehicle search by police, according to the lawsuit.
Documents show that despite not finding anything illegal during the search of the vehicle, a female officer was called to the scene to search Simms' body.
Detective Mara Wilson, who is now retired, arrived on scene and conducted the search on Simms in front of several male officers. The search was also partially recorded by a dash camera on Wilson's police vehicle.
The lawsuit details the conversation between Simms and Wilson during the search and indicates Simms did not consent to a vaginal search.
Wilson pulled Natalie's pants and underwear down in public and used her flashlight to search the area, in addition to pulling a string attached to a tampon out of Simms vagina, according to the lawsuit.
The conversation between Simms and Wilson, taken directly from the lawsuit, reads:
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: 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 commented on the amount of pubic hair Simms had and continued to tell Simms they could not go to the police station to finish conducting the search, despite Simms' persistence, the lawsuit states.
Simms was allowed to drive away following the search when officers didn't find anything illegal. She filed the lawsuit in March 2018.
If approved during Thursday's city council meeting, the settlement money would be paid from the city's self-insurance liability fund.
The City Attorney's Office released the following statement in regard to the amount of money settled:
"There is no standard formula used to calculate and negotiate a settlement between parties. Every case is evaluated on its own and like any other parties in litigation we consider the applicable law and the facts."
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.