(Photo: Screen Grab via KOB 4)
[WARNING: THE REPORT BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAILS]
A New Mexico man has filed a damning lawsuit against local police and a medical establishment after he was reluctantly dragged through a hellish 14-hours of multiple anal cavity searches because police felt he was hiding drugs when he appeared to clench his buttocks during a routine traffic stop.
According to a recent investigation conducted by KOB 4 TV, a review of David Eckhert's medical records, police reports and information contained in a federal lawsuit, officers with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, the City of Deming and medical personnel at the Gila Regional Medical Center all made questionable decisions that contributed to his violent humiliation.
"It's terrifying. It's absolutely a nightmare," Eckert's lawyer and civil rights specialist Shannon Kennedy told KOB 4. "I mean it's absolutely unimaginable that this could happen in America," she added.
And the following details explain why.
Eckhert had reportedly just finished shopping at a Walmart in Deming on Jan. 2, 2013, when he was accosted by police for failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign as he left the Walmart parking lot.
Kennedy said that during the stop, officers asked Eckert to step out of his vehicle and it was at this point they said he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. The officers concluded that this clenching was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding drugs in his anal cavity so they detained him while they got a search warrant from a judge giving them permission to do a search of Eckhert's anus.
Search warrant in hand, the lawsuit says officers took a protesting Eckert to an emergency room in Deming but physicians there balked at the request citing its "unethical" nature.
The relentless officers persisted in their quest to violate Eckert in search of the suspected drugs, however, and physicians at Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the search.
And this is what happened to Eckert after he was admitted to the medical facility several hours later according to his medical records. The man claims at no time during the ordeal did he consent to have any of these procedures done according to KOB 4.
- Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
- Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
- Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
- 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.
"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," said a somber Kennedy.
She argued among other concerns that doctors at Gila Regional Medical Center had performed the search on her client illegally because the warrant issued to officers was only valid in Luna County where Deming is located.
"This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees," Kennedy said.
The entire lawsuit can be viewed below.