Is that your clenched butt or are just unhappy to see us? That question was never asked by sheriff’s deputies who are now facing legal action after subjecting a suspect to a hellish ordeal that is a living nightmare for every human who has ever undergone a proctologic exam.
Station KOB (h/t readers teejk, Steven Ein) reports that the incident occurred on January 2, 2013 in the town of Deming, N.M. David Eckert, the plaintiff, had just finished shopping at a Wal-Mart store when deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office flagged down his car. Eckert, they claimed, had not made a complete stop at a stop sign before exiting the parking lot.
But events began to spiral out of control when the deputies asked Eckert to step out of his car. Observing that he appeared to be clenching his buttocks, police say they believed there was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.
What happened next is surreal. Deming Police drove Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform an anal cavity search, citing it as “unethical.” Undaunted, the cops took the suspect to another hospital — the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City — where physicians agreed to perform the procedure … and admitted Eckert against his will as a patient.
The following is a list of the medical procedures that were performed on Eckert over the next umpteen hours without his consent:
- His abdominal area was x-rayed, but no narcotics were found.
- Doctors then performed an examination of Eckert’s anus with their fingers. Again, no narcotics were found.
- Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers. No narcotics, etc. (Ditto for each of the remaining steps.)
- 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.
- Step 4 was repeated.
- Step 4 was re-repeated.
- Step 1 was repeated.
- 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.
Among the concerns expressed by Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, are that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause. But even more damning is that the warrant was valid only in Luna County, where Deming is located. The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County. In addition, the warrant was valid only through 10 p.m. Medical records show that Eckert was prepped for the colonoscopy at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the expiration.
Kennedy told reporters:
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.
Eckert’s lawsuit names The City of Deming and Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Hernandez; Hidalgo County Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez, and Patrick Green; Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty; and the Gila Regional Medical Center, including Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D.
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