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Trials & Litigation

Man to get $1.6M for humiliating 3-enema ordeal after traffic stop

Posted Jan 15, 2014 1:15 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A city and county in New Mexico have agreed to settle for $1.6 million their portion of litigation brought by an arrestee who said he was subjected to a humiliating hospital anal exam involving three enemas, a colonoscopy and more after a traffic stop last year.

The city of Deming and Hidalgo County got a search warrant to authorize the examination of David Eckert after he was pulled over for failing to yield to a stop sign when exiting a parking lot on Jan. 2. It was based on a police dog's alert to the alleged presence of drugs near the driver's seat of his vehicle and a claim that Eckert appeared to be clenching his buttocks, according to the Associated Press and Forbes.

However, the warrant was valid only in Luna County, and a physician at a Deming emergency room refused to perform the examination, Eckert alleges in his suit, which was filed in federal court in New Mexico. Doctors at a second hospital, Gila Regional Medical Center, agreed to perform the exam, but the facility is located in Silver City, across the county line.

Despite the exam, no drugs were found on Eckert or in his vehicle.

"It was medically unethical and unconstitutional," his lawyer, Shannon Kennedy, told the Associated Press. "He feels relieved that this part is over and believes this litigation might make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."

Eckert's suit also named Gila Regional Medical Center and the doctors who performed the exam as defendants, and that portion of the case is ongoing.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Traffic stop brings 3 enemas, 2 X-rays and 1 colonoscopy in cops’ fruitless drug search, suit says"

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