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

Posted Nov 5, 2013 1:48 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New Mexico man claims in a federal lawsuit that he was forced to submit to three enemas, a colonoscopy, two X-rays and several cavity searches after he was pulled over for failing to yield for a stop sign while exiting a Wal-Mart parking lot.

The suit by David Eckert says that, despite the persistence of medical personnel, no drugs were ever found. KOB4 reviewed the lawsuit, medical records and police reports surrounding the plight of David Eckert of Lordsburg, who was pulled over Jan. 2.

Eckert's federal suit says the Deming police officer who pulled him over on Jan. 2 patted him down, and began to question him. Other responding officers used a drug dog to sniff Eckert’s vehicle, which allegedly alerted to drugs, and then seized the car. Eckert and the officers differ over whether consent was given for the vehicle search.

No drugs were found in the vehicle, according to the suit.

The suit says the officer was suspicious because Eckert held his legs together after exiting the vehicle, while Eckert’s lawyer, Shannon Kennedy, told KOB4 that the officer was suspicious because Eckert appeared to be clenching his buttocks.

The officer obtained a search warrant that authorized an anal cavity search and transported Eckert to the emergency room in Deming, where the attending physician refused to do the procedure. Eckert was then taken to a second hospital, the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, where the lawsuit says the enemas, X-rays, colonoscopy and cavity searches were performed.

The hospital billed Eckert for the services, the suit says.

"This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees," Kennedy told KOB4. The lawyer says the search warrant was issued without probable cause, was too broad, was invalid in the county where the second hospital was located, and had expired before the colonoscopy was performed.

Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante told the broadcast station that "we follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place."

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