November 10, 2013
In arguably the most bizarre and disturbing case in U.S. history involving a routine traffic stop by a police officer, a New Mexico man was subjected to an illegal search that would make the President of the United States wince if it had occurred at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military detention center to a terrorist who killed innocent Americans.
"This case is the strangest example of police abuse to come down the pike in my lifetime as a police officer," said former NYPD detective Iris Aquino. "What I see in this horror story is an out-of-control police department run by an out-of-control police chief [Brandon Gigante] who was helped by an out-of-control judge."
“Besides police state tactics, this case of a Fourth Amendment would make Hitler’s favorite medical doctor, Dr. Josef Mengele, the ‘Angel of Death,’ proud of the New Mexico physicians who violated an innocent man and violated the Hippocratic [Oath.]
On Jan. 2, 2013, a 34-year-old New Mexico resident, David Eckert, was on his way home after shopping at a department store when he allegedly failed to come to a stop upon seeing a stop sign. As happens hundreds of thousands of times throughout the United States, a police cruiser appeared flashed its police lights signaling Eckert to pull over for a traffic stop.
According to Shannon Kennedy, Eckert's attorney who is featured on a YouTube video, a Deming, N.M., patrol officer ordered Eckert to exit his vehicle.
The cop claims that Eckert seemed to be contracting his buttock muscles and this action gave him probable cause to believe the driver was concealing narcotics in his anus. The officer then radioed his sergeant who along with other officers secured a search warrant from a judge in order to conduct a thorough anal examination of Eckert.
Eckert’s attorney alleges that the Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was "unethical." However, physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver were more than happy perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.
Eckert’s Personal Police State Horror Story
While at the Gila Medical Center, Eckert was an alleged victim of forced medical procedures including an illegally performed invasive surgical procedure. A review of Eckert's medical records and details in the lawsuit show reveal the following occurred and yet all of the tests met with negative results -- no drugs:
Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed and then the Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers. After finding nothing, the doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers.
Not satisfied with the results, the doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert had to watch the doctors sift through his stool. Still not satisfied the doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. When the exam met with negative results, the same physicians penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time.
When the doctors x-rayed Eckert repeatedly, they still found no contraband.
In the most outrageous accusation of illegal police search and seizure, the 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 intestines. After all of the testing and all of the searching no illegal drugs were discovered, according to Eckert.
Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures, his attorney stated.
"If the officers in Hidalgo County and the City of Deming are seeking warrants for anal cavity searches based on how they're standing and the warrant allows doctors at the Gila Hospital of Horrors to go in and do enemas and colonoscopies without consent, then anyone can be seized and that's why the public needs to know about this," Kennedy said in a YouTube video about her client’s ordeal.
To add insult to injury, the Gila Medical Center billed Eckert for the procedures he did not authorize including the colonoscopy.
Case Goes Beyond Just Police Misconduct
According to Eckert’s lawyer, there were obvious problems with the way the search warrant was carried out. Kennedy argues that the judge’s warrant was too broad and it lacked probable cause.
Even more troubling is the fact that while the warrant was arguably valid in Luna County, where Deming is located, the doctors were located -- and their invasive medical procedures were performed -- in Grant County.
Eckert’s lawsuit therefore claims all medical treatment was performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so without “legal basis and no consent from the patient.”
In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the judge’s search warrant expired at 10 p.m. that night. However, Eckert’s medical records show that the colonoscopy preparation legally began the next day when it started at 1 a.m., three hours after the warrant expired.
"This is like something out of a science fiction film, anal probing by government officials and public employees," Kennedy said.
“Just imagine if this entire episode had occurred involving an illegal alien or a suspected Muslim terrorist. I’m willing to bet a month’s salary that the case would have been the top news story throughout the country and the victim of this police use of excessive force would probably have received a telephone call from President Barack Obama,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist and attorney.
“But this case involved a white male and white males are considered the enemy by the radicals in the U.S. government. The madness of the federal bureaucracy appears to be ‘dripping’ onto local authorities including some police agencies,” Baker added.
The Deming Police Department and Police Chief Brandon Gigante have refused to discuss this case with anyone. However, they did release a statement: “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place.”
This is not the only case of gross misconduct by New Mexico police. This week a federal grand jury in Albuquerque returned a one-count indictment charging former Belen Police Department Detective John Lytle with unlawfully assaulting a victim, identified in the indictment as R.A., during an investigative stop and arrest on March 15, 2012.
Lytle is charged with violating R.A.’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by a law enforcement officer, which includes freedom from the use of excessive force. The indictment alleges that Lytle unlawfully assaulted R.A. by striking R.A. while R.A. was in handcuffs. The indictment also alleges that Lytle’s actions resulted in bodily injury to R.A.
Lytle faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the civil rights violation.
Eckert has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Deming, Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Jose Hernandez; Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green; Deputy District Attorney Daniel Dougherty; The Gila Regional Medical Center including Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D.