Citizen Awarded $1.6 Million Settlement in Law Suit
A little over a year ago, David Eckert was subjected to 8 anal exams after he was stopped by New Mexico police for rolling through a stop sign.
One of the officers claimed Eckert’s posture was “erect and he kept his legs together,” which led him to believe Eckert may have been hiding drugs in his anal cavity. A search warrant was obtained, even though no drugs were found on his person or in his vehicle.
The search warrant included permission to search Eckert’s anal cavity. The warrant did not mention what kind of medical procedure could be used – or that a medical procedure could be used at all.
Here’s what Eckert was subjected to at the hospital, according to medical records and lawsuit details provided to KOB 4 news:
1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
4. Not once, but three times, 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. No narcotics were found.
5. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
6. 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 intestine. No narcotics were found.
Eckert never consented to any of those exams – in fact, he protested the whole time. To add insult to injury, the hospital billed him for the procedures.
He filed suit against the officers and the medical “professionals” involved in the case. The suit asserted the following, as reported by CNN:
Authorities acted completely outside the bounds of human decency by orchestrating wholly superfluous physical body cavity searches performed by an unethical medical professional.
Because Eckert “merely looked nervous during a traffic stop,” the lawsuit claims that authorities ended up violating his constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures on a number of grounds.
One was that “the language in the warrant was overly broad and, therefore, invalid,” said the plaintiff, asserting that the chest X-ray and colonoscopy, for instance, weren’t related or confined to the “anal cavity.”
Moreover, many of the tests took place outside the 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. timeframe for which any such search warrant (unless otherwise authorized) is legally valid under New Mexico law, according to the lawsuit.
Now he has settled his lawsuit with local authorities for $1.6 million.
Eckert “feels gratified that the city and county acted quickly, and that they recognize his dignity and humanity,” his lawyer, Joe Kennedy, said. “He expects that it won’t happen to anyone else ever again.”
“I feel grateful to live in the United States,” Eckert said in a statement posted on his lawyer’s Facebook page. “Bad things happen, but in America there is a way to get justice.”
He said he “got some justice, as I think the settlement shows they were wrong to do what they did to me.”
In his latest statement, Eckert said he wants to maintain his privacy and would like to avoid having his “face be linked with jokes related to anal probing.”
He also said that he was heartened by those who expressed their sympathy and support, and is thankful to those who shared their own horror stories involving police on online articles about his ordeal.
“I felt very helpless and alone that night. The comments I have read on news stories from people have made me feel much better and not so alone.”
Yes, bad things happen to people, but THIS shouldn’t have happened. Those doctors should have lost their licenses for performing procedures on the man against his will, and the cops should have been fired for abusing their authority.
What does it say for our society when actions such as those by the ‘authorities’ are labeled, even by the victim, as ‘bad things happen’ and the answer is a law suit and the appeasement is money?
What’s even worse is that neither the cops or the doctors had the human decency to step back and realize how they were treating another human being and put a stop to it.