When New Mexico police stopped a local driver for committing a minor moving violation, they decided to check whether he was carrying drugs in his anus.
So they procured a warrant, drove him to two different hospitals, forced him to endure eight medical procedures — including an invasive colonoscopy — and stuck him with the bill.
No drugs were found.
The incident happened on Jan. 2, 2013 in Deming, N.M., and was investigated by KOB-TV 4 News. Police pulled over a local man, David Eckert, after he failed to come to a complete stop at a traffic sign.
Two things caused police to believe that Eckert was hiding drugs: the way he clenched his buttocks, and a drug-sniffing dog.
What happened next is almost unbelievable.
According to medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit obtained by KOB-TV, police held Eckert until they were able to procure a warrant from a judge to search the man’s anal cavity. They then drove him to a nearby hospital and instructed doctors to examine his anus.
Doctors at Members Memorial Hospital refused to cooperate, however, telling officers that the search would be unethical.
Deming Police then took Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City. This time, Eckert wasn’t so lucky.
Medical officials stuck their fingers inside Eckert’s rectum, but found no drugs. An enema was next. When that didn’t produce the drugs, they gave Eckert two more. He was forced to defecate in front of the medical officials and police, but still, no drugs were found.
Eckert was then prepped for another operation. Doctors knocked him out and gave him a colonoscopy — an invasive medical procedure that involves sticking a tube up the patient’s rectum, anus, colon and intestine.
Before the ordeal was over, Eckert had suffered through eight medical procedures. He objected to each and every one.
Adding insult to injury, the hospital stuck Eckert with the bill, and has threatened to take him to court to pay it.
Adding further insult to injury, the warrant had expired by the time doctors performed the procedures, and the warrant only ever covered procedures in Luna County. Gila Regional is in Grant County.
Eckert has filed suit against the individual police officers who tormented him, the police department and the hospital.
“The thought that they could do this to a man in our country is terrifying,” said Shannon Kennedy, Eckert’s attorney, in a statement to KOB-TV. “This is something out of a science fiction film. Anal probing by government officials and public employees?”
The local news channel reached out to the Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante, who referred questions about the incident to an attorney. However, he did maintain that his officers always follow proper protocol.