An important good deed is to investigate abuses of power by police and physicians. KOB (Albuquerque, New Mexico) has done this in the case of police treatment of David Eckert, who on 2 January 2013 was accused of not bringing his vehicle to a full stop at a stop sign in Deming, New Mexico. Law enforcement thought that Mr. Eckert was clenching his buttocks when he exited his vehicle, and so law enforcement thought that he was hiding illegal drugs in his anal cavity. Law enforcement got a search warrant from a judge so that they could search Mr. Eckert’s anal cavity. According to a federal lawsuit filed by Mr. Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, a doctor in an emergency room in Deming declined to perform the search because, in the doctor’s opinion, it was unethical. However, physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to search Mr. Eckert’s anal cavity. Chris Ramirez, in his article “4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare,” details what happened to Mr. Eckert, who did not give permission for any of these procedures:
“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.”
Shannon Kennedy said, “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.”
Mr. Eckert’s rights appear to be violated in a major way. Mr. Ramirez wrote, “There are major concerns about the way the search warrant was carried out. Kennedy argues that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause. But beyond that, the warrant was only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located. The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County. That means all of the medical procedures were performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so with no legal basis and no consent from the patient.
“In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the warrant expired at 10 p.m. Medical records show the prepping for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the warrant expired.”
Shannon Kennedy said, “This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees.”
Mr. Eckert is suing The City of Deming and Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez, and Officer Hernandez. He is also suing Hidalgo County Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez, and Patrick Green. He is also suing Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty and the Gila Regional Medical Center including Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D.
In another article “NM woman comes forward with illegal probing claims”), Mr. Ramirez also wrote about a woman who believes herself to be a victim of sexual assault because of the way in which she was searched. The woman crossed the border at a Port of Entry from Juarez, Mexico into El Paso. A dog made an alert, and the woman was strip-searched at the Port of Entry and then was taken to University Medical Center of El Paso. Laura Schaur Ives, Legal Director for the New Mexico Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, who is representing the woman, said, “First, medical staff observed her making a bow[e]l movement and no drugs were found at that point. They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual — two handed. Finally, they did a cat scan. Again, they found nothing.”
For Further Information: Chris Ramirez, “4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare.” KOB (Albuquerque, New Mexico). 4 November 2013; updated 5 November 2013
To see a copy of the lawsuit, go here:
Also check out this article:
For Further Information: Chris Ramirez, “NM woman comes forward with illegal probing claims.” KOB (Albuquerque, New Mexico). 7 November 2013
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