David Eckert, a man who was repeatedly strip searched, X-rayed, and forced to undergo a colonoscopy, has filed a federal lawsuit against the law enforcement officers and hospital officials that turned a minor traffic violation into a horrific nightmare.
Eckert was stopped for failing to make a complete stop after leaving a Deming, New Mexico, Walmart. He then was ordered to get out of his vehicle, according to statements his attorney Shannon Kennedy made to The Blaze.
Deming police officers reportedly thought that Eckert was “clenching his buttocks,” prompting them to believe he may have been hiding drugs in his anal cavity. Officers then obtained a warrant to allow them to conduct an anal cavity search, which required a doctor.
The first doctor refused to conduct the search, but physicians at Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to do it.
According to KOB-TV, David Eckert’s medical records reveal he was forced to undergo the following:
- His abdominal area was X-rayed and no narcotics were found.
- Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers. No drugs were found.
- Gila Medical Center staffer performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers. Still no drugs were found.
- Then the doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. The New Mexico man was forced to defecate in front of both the doctors and the police officers. He had to watch as the doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found this time, either.
- Gila Regional Medical Center physicians once again penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers a second time. He then watched again as the doctors searched his stool. No drugs had appeared.
- The 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.
- Eckert was once again X-rayed. No narcotics were found.
- Still not satisfied that Eckert’s anal cavity had been sufficiently searched, the doctors prepared him for surgery. He was sedated and then a colonoscopy was performed; a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon and large intestines. You ready for it? No drugs were found.
Eckert protested the forced anal probes and other medical procedures throughout his ordeal. He spent approximately 12 hours on a table with doctors reaching into his body – all because of a supposedly clenched buttocks during a routine traffic stop for a minor moving violation. The search warrant issued in the adjacent county was only valid through 10 p.m., yet the colonoscopy was not initiated until 1 am.
Eckert’s attorney said this about the repeated body cavity searches:
What is so strange about this case is they held him with no evidence. They seized him to collect evidence, to go on a fishing expedition on someone’s body. It’s a nightmare, it is unfathomable. You could never anticipate this happening in the United States of America.
Kennedy went on to state that in his nearly two decades of practicing law, the David Eckert case might be the most egregious incident of law enforcement abuse he had ever known. The attorney pointed out multiple concerns associated with the warrant used to conduct the multiple cavity searches. The warrant was valid strictly in Luna County, but the series of anal cavity searches were carried out at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Grant County.
The New Mexico man is suing Deming police officers Robert Chavez, Bobby Orosco, and officer Hernandez (first name not listed) as well as the city of Deming, Hidalgo County deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriquez and Patrick Green; Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty and the Gila Regional Medical Center, including Robert Wilcox, M.D. and doctor Okay Odocha. Attorneys representing the defendants declined to comment.
Do you think David Eckert’s civil rights were violated?