Police officers in New Mexico already accused of improperly subjecting one man stopped for a minor traffic offense to 14 hours of anal probes and a colonoscopy because they incorrectly thought he was carrying drugs inside his body now have been accused of doing that to a second victim.
According to a report from KOB-TV in New Mexico, “our investigation reveals another chapter. Another man, another minor traffic violation, another incident with Leo the K-9 and another example of the violation of a man’s body.”
The station reported that state deputies stopped Timothy Young Oct. 13, 2012, “because he turned without putting his blinker on.”
Leo, a police dog, alerted on Young, and he was taken to the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, N.M., just like David Eckert, and was subjected to medical procedures including X-rays of his stomach and an anal exam, the TV station said.
No drugs were found.
But the TV report said the procedures were done “without consent” and in a county “not covered by the search warrant.”
The station also reported the drug-sniffing dog’s certification expired in 2011.
The problems are compounding, with complaints against the doctors involved in the searches being turned over to the state licensing board. Complaints against the officers also have been turned over to the board that licenses police personnel.
Civil actions also are following.
WND reported earlier on Eckert’s ordeal. He was detained for 14 hours after Leo, the police dog, indicted it found drugs on Eckert.
Doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center, at the demand of police, performed eight procedures, including X-rays, rectal finger exams, enemas and a colonoscopy on Eckert.
According to police, Eckert rolled through a stop sign while driving out of a Wal-Mart parking lot in Deming, N.M. on Jan. 2, 2013. He was promptly pulled over and asked to step out of his vehicle.
The details are documented in police reports, medical reports and a federal lawsuit.
“They say when he stepped out of his car, he was standing in a manner that looked as if he was clenching his buttocks,” Shannon Kennedy, Eckert’s attorney, told KOB-TV.
Eckert’s butt-clenching, combined with the reaction of a drug-sniffing dog, were apparently enough for police to conclude Eckert might be trying to hide something illegal. So they obtained a warrant to do an anal-cavity search.
For the next 14 hours, Eckert was subjected to X-rays, cavity searches, several enemas and a colonoscopy at the hands of police and hospital employees.
“It is absolutely unimaginable that this could happen in America,” Kennedy told the TV station.
The first hospital declared the request “unethical” and refused to perform any procedures.
However, Gila Regional Medical Center had no such concern and promptly made Eckert undergo several invasive procedures despite his protestations.
Eckert underwent an abdominal X-ray, which showed no drugs.
He then had two anal exams in which doctors used their fingers. Once again, no drugs were found.
Three enemas failed to produce any drug evidence.
A second X-ray found nothing, so Eckert was prepped for surgery and forced to undergo a colonoscopy.
“This is like something out of a science-fiction film. Anal probing by government officials and public employees?” exclaimed Kennedy, a civil-rights attorney.
According to Kennedy, the warrant for the anal-cavity search was valid only for Luna County, where Eckert was arrested, but not for Grant County, where the Gila Regional Medical Center is located. The warrant had also expired by the time the colonoscopy was performed.
“The thought that they could do this to a man in our country is terrifying. Our community ought to be outraged.
“The public has a right to know about this so they can be aware when traveling through that part of our state to be careful and to be on guard,” said Kennedy.
Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante refused to comment on the federal lawsuit but told the TV station residents of the town have no reason to fear unwarranted intrusions by police officers.
“We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place,” said Gigante.
When WND requested comment from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, an officer who answered the phone said the lawyers would have to be contacted. But he could not provide contact for the lawyers.
Eckert’s attorney says her client is now “terrified” after suffering so much pain and humiliation.
And she reveals he’s still being victimized.
The medical center billed Eckert for all the medical procedures and has threatened to pursue him if he doesn’t pay.
The lawsuit over Eckert’s ordeal names Deming officers Maricela Hernandez, Bobby Orosco and Robert Chavez, as well as Hidalgo deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green.
Kennedy’s lawsuit on behalf of Eckert is seeking “in excess of $1 million in punitive damages along.”
Kennedy told U.S. News it’s possible the officers just didn’t like how her client looks.
“Maybe the officers who did this don’t like him living in their community,” said Kennedy. “He’s a white boy, a scraggly white boy, and all these officers are Hispanic. It’s a New Mexico thing.”
Kennedy said a lawsuit on behalf of Young is being prepared.