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Police Subject Man to 8 Anal Searches After Minor Traffic Violation

A lawsuit alleges that David Eckert was forced to go through invasive and repeated searches of his anus by police and doctors.
 
 
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A New Mexico man has filed a federal lawsuit over a traffic stop gone horribly wrong. The New Mexico-based news outlet KOB 4 investigates the story of David Eckert, who was forced to go through invasive and repeated searches of his anus by police and doctors, despite the fact that he had no drugs on him.

The nightmare began on January 2, 2013. New Mexico resident Eckert was driving out of a WalMart parking lot when he didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign, and was pulled over. Law enforcement thought he was “clenching his buttocks,” and obtained a search warrant from a judge to search his anus for narcotics.

But Eckert’s lawyer is raising concerns about the validity of the search warrant, saying that it was broad and lacked probable cause. In addition, the medical room where Eckert was taken was outside the jurisdiction of the search warrant, making the searches performed on him illegally.

Police from Deming, New Mexico took Eckert to an emergency room to undergo the anal cavity search, but a doctor refused to perform it because it was “unethical,” according to the lawsuit.  But a few hours later, doctors agreed to perform the search.

It wasn’t only one search. An x-ray of Eckert found no narcotics. Doctors performed a search of his anus with their fingers. Again, nothing was found. On three separate occasions, doctors inserted an “enema”--a device used to induce bowel movements--into Eckert, and he was forced to defecate. They x-rayed him again. Nothing was ever found.

Finally, and without the consent of Eckert, he was sedated and a colonoscopy was performed on him. No drugs were ever found throughout the invasive procedures.

“If the officers in Hidalgo County and the City of Deming are seeking warrants for anal cavity searches based on how they're standing and the warrant allows doctors at the Gila Hospital of Horrors to go in and do enemas and colonoscopies without consent, then anyone can be seized and that's why the public needs to know about this,” Eckert’s lawyer, Shannon Kennedy, told the news outlet.

Deming Police Chief defended the department’s actions in an interview with KOB 4. “ We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place,” the chief, Brandon Gigante, said.

Now, Eckert is suing the the city of Deming and the police department.

“This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees,” his lawyer said.

 

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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