A New Mexico man has filed a lawsuit alleging that police forced him to undergo invasive medical procedures against his will after a traffic stop to look for drugs.
According to the federal lawsuit, David Eckert was pulled over Jan. 2 after he failed to make a complete stop as he pulled out of a Wal-Mart parking lot in Deming.
Police asked Eckert to step out of the vehicle, and officers said he appeared to be clenching his buttocks, so they obtained a search warrant that allowed for an anal cavity search to look for drugs.
Officers took Eckert to an emergency room at a nearby hospital, but doctors there refused to perform the search, saying it was “unethical,” according to the suit.
So police took Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, where doctors agreed to perform the search and admitted the suspect a few hours later.
The suit claims Eckert was subjected to repeated and humiliating forced medical procedures, including an X-ray of his abdominal area, multiple anal probes, an enema and stool examination, and a colonoscopy under sedation.
No drugs were found during any of those procedures, according to the suit.
“This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees,” said Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy.
Kennedy says the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause, and the attorney also argued it was valid only in Luna County, where Deming is located, and expired at 10 p.m.
Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County, and medical records show preparations for the colonoscopy began at 1 a.m.
The suit names the city of Deming and three of its police officers, three Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies, a deputy district attorney and Gila Regional Medical Center and two physicians there.
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