This article is reblogged from TechDirt. Click through for the full article, including legal complaints and other documentation.
Edit: At least the poor guy was compensated to some degree. Hidalgo County and Deming coughed up $1.6 million to settle the suit. However, no disciplinary action was reported.
This is one of the most disgraceful abuses of power I’ve heard of in recent times, and some of them have been pretty bad.
I call for the immediate dismissal of the officers involved, and criminal charges to be filed against them, as well as against the doctors who performed these illegal, invasive procedures without the consent of the victim. Oh, and did I mention that the Gila Regional Medical Center is billing the victim for the invasive, non-consensual medical procedures and has threatened to take him to collections for non-payment?
By the holy skull of Mogg’s grandfather, this is beyond belief.
Cops Subject Man To Rectal Searches, Enemas And A Colonoscopy In Futile Effort To Find Drugs They Swear He Was Hiding
from the a-vulgar-display-of-power dept
This post is going to be very short on commentary because the hideous abuse of justice has basically rendered me near speechless.
David Eckert, a resident of Deming, NM, was pulled over by police officers after failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. For whatever reason, the officers decided Eckert was hiding something, or perhaps they were unsatisfied that a routine stop hadn’t blown up into something bigger.
They asked him to step out of the car and then searched his vehicle (without his consent). Another officer brought in a drug dog which reacted (a relatively worthless indication of anything — drug dogs can easily be “alerted” by their controlling officers) to the driver’s seat. (Eckert’s lawyer calls into question this dog’s training, presenting documents that claim to show it hadn’t received the proper field training and recertification. See exhibits listed under docket item 27.) Then the officer “observed” that Eckert was standing “erect with his legs together” and his “buttocks clenched.” This was all the justification the Deming police needed to subject Eckert to the following horrific chain of events at a hospital in neighboring Silver City.
1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
At no time did Eckert give his consent to these searches. The police did obtain a warrant to rectally search Eckert but that warrant itself was problematic. For one, it was severely lacking in probable cause. For another, it was valid only for Luna County but the searches were executed inGrant County. Third, the warrant was only valid for four hours, up until 10 pm that night. Eckert was held for 14 hours and, according to medical records, prep for the colonoscopy didn’t even commence until 1 am the following day.
Why the venue shift? Because the doctor at the Deming hospital told officers the proposed search was “unethical.” Drs. Robert Wilcox and Okay Odocha of the Gila Regional Medical Center apparently had no qualms about forcibly “searching” Eckert eight times.
There’s more in Eckert’s complaint, including the fact that the second x-ray was of his chest, an area completely unrelated to the region where he was supposedly “concealing drugs.” In addition to what can be proven from medical records and police reports obtained by Eckert’s attorney, there are additional allegations that the officers Chavez and Hernandez mocked him and made derogatory comments about his “compromised position.” They also allegedly moved the privacy screen repeatedly to expose him to others in the hospital hallway. This verbal abuse apparently continued during Eckert’s ride back to the Deming police station. Understandably, Eckert now claims to be “terrified to leave the house” and does so “infrequently.”
There are many lawsuits filed where most details are alleged. This isn’t one of them. Most of what’s “alleged” by Eckert is documented by the routine paperwork that accompanies medical procedures and search warrants. And, to add insult to injury, KOB4’s news team states that the Gila Regional Medical Center is billing Eckert for the invasive, non-consensual medical procedures and has threatened to take him to collections for non-payment.
The only question that remains is why no one involved on the “law” side ever thought that anything past the first step on the list above might be excessive. These officers, along with two shamefully compliant doctors, went as far as they could to humiliate and violate someone simply because they could — in a collective effort that looks far more like making Eckert pay for the “crime” of making the cops look stupid than any sort of legitimate law enforcement effort.
The mind reels at the human corruption and institutional evil that allowed this travesty to take place.
Contact the Gila Regional Medical Center:
Complaint, send to our Patient Advocate: email@example.com
Contact the Deming Police Department
700 E. Pine St. Deming NM 88030
Contact the Hidalgo County Sheriff
720 E. 2nd Street
Lordsburg, NM 88045
The victim is suing for damages, and I hope he prevails beyond all expectations. A large settlement is the only thing that will make the various parties to this abomination sit up and take notice.
The Old Wolf has spoken.