SANTA FE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A New Mexico man has filed a lawsuit claiming police subjected him to repeated anal probes and enemas after a routine traffic stop because they suspected he was hiding drugs.
David Eckert, 54, claims violations of his civil rights in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico in August but not make public until this week, his lawyers said on Wednesday.
“This suit is about stopping officers and doctors from subjecting people in their custody and control to unlawful sadistic medical procedures that violate the most intimate parts of the human body,” attorney Shannon Kennedy said.
The legal action stems from Eckert’s treatment by police after he was pulled over in January for failing to come to a complete stop while exiting a Wal-Mart parking lot in Deming, New Mexico.
Officers suspected that he was hiding drugs in his anus, based on the way he was standing and the fact that a police dog alerted to his driver’s seat, and obtained a search warrant “to include but not limited to (plaintiff’s) anal cavity,” according to the lawsuit.
After a medical facility in Deming refused to carry out the procedures, Eckert was taken to Gila Regional Medical Center in nearby Silver City, the lawsuit says, where he was forced to undergo eight searches - including digital penetration of his anus, three enemas, two X-rays and a colonoscopy.
Ultimately, no drugs were found, according to the complaint, which says that the Gila Regional Medical Center billed Eckert for the services it performed.
Named in the lawsuit are the city of Deming, its police department, officers involved in the incident and the Gila Regional Medical Center.
Representatives for the Deming Police Department and the Gila Regional Medical Center could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante told local KOB-TV, “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place.”
Reporting by Zelie Pollon; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker