New Mexico news station KOB is reporting on a traffic stop that quickly devolved into a nightmare.
The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming. According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn't make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.
Eckert's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. Law enforcement thought that 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.
The first doctor the police asked to perform the procedure refused. But the police then took Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center, where, according to his lawsuit, he was first subjected to abdominal x-rays (no drugs), two anal penetrations with fingers (no drugs), three enemas (no drugs), another round of x-rays (no drugs), and, finally, sedation, followed by a colonoscopy of his "anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines." No drugs. All of this was of course done without Eckert's consent.
The procedures -- actually, let's call this what it is -- the repeated sexual assaults were also apparently performed in a county other than the one named on the warrant, and the colonoscopy was done after the warrant had expired. I would also question why a judge would sign a warrant like this in the first place. If we've reached the point where perceived butt clenching is probable cause for repeated anal probes, then the Fourth Amendment truly is an anachronism.*
I've put out queries to both the American Medical Association and the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners about a doctor's ethical obligations in a situation like this. I'll update this post if/when I hear back from either organization.
Finally, one of the officers -- Bobby Orosco -- was apparently promoted four months after the incident.
(*Marvel for a minute at the fact that there was an incident that would give rise to the need to write this sentence.)