A Tianjin woman is beaten up by border officers after stumbling into a drug raid For Tianjin businesswoman Zhao Yan, a sightseeing visit to the Niagara Falls at the US and Canadian border turned into a nightmare experience. Ms Zhao, the operator of a fitness equipment company, says she was beaten up by homeland security inspector Robert Rhodes and suffered multiple injuries when he mistook her for a member of a drug smuggling gang. The officer sprayed her with pepper spray, threw her against a wall, kneed her in the head as she knelt and struck her head on the ground while holding her hair. 'Whenever I hear a man speaking English or see one wearing a US police uniform, it makes me cringe. The assault not only physically harmed me, but also left me with mental trauma,' she said from her lawyer's office in New York on Saturday. Rhodes was charged on Friday for what federal court prosecutor Michael Battle called a violation of the civil rights of the victim. He was released on US$50,000 bail. Ms Zhao, 37, entered the US on July 12 to attend business meetings. She joined a two-day tour package to Niagara Falls at Buffalo last Wednesday and visited sightseeing spot Rainbow Bridge at 11pm to look at the falls. 'I saw flickering light from a house nearby - out of curiosity I went in. I just wanted to take a few more photos,' Ms Zhao recalled. Little did she know that border protection officers at the US-Canadian border were conducting a raid and confiscated marijuana from a man who was arrested in the house. Her two friends, Huang Ling and Xie Fang, fled immediately when more policemen came charging in, but Ms Zhao felt she had done nothing wrong and stayed. 'I didn't think the police would assault me. But they kept kicking me, unstrapped my underwear and sprayed me with pepper-spray. My nose was bleeding very badly,' said Ms Zhao, who had bruises all over her face and body. She suffered a temporary loss of sight in her left eye as a result of the strong pepper spray. 'I felt deeply humiliated. I have been to many countries, but the US is the most brutal place,' she said. The three women were handcuffed for more than an hour before being taken to hospital after a police officer verified their identities with their passports and realised that a mistake had been made. Ms Zhao's lawyer, Stanley Legan, said the incident was clearly an assault on innocent civilians and Ms Zhao would seek compensation of at least US$5 million. Ms Zhao was supposed to head to Seoul for a business trip last Friday, but the trip had to be postponed. Cui Aimin , of China's consulate general in New York, expressed deep concern at the case and urged the US government to launch a full investigation into the incident.