KFOX14 - kfoxtv.com - Search Results
Traffic stop leads to colonoscopy for driver; similar case reported in Borderland
By: Stephanie Guadian
DEMING, N.M. -- When David Eckert drove up to the Walmart parking lot in Deming, N.M., earlier this year, he had no idea he was about to make headlines around the world.
Police stopped him for allegedly driving through a stop sign.
Court documents show officers suspected the 53-year-old was hiding drugs in his anal cavity. That traffic stop ended with Eckert being taken to the Silver City Gila Regional Medical Center for anal probes, three enemas, two body x-rays and a colonoscopy.
Joe Kennedy is Eckert's attorney.
"This may be one of the most egregious situations we have ever seen in the state of New Mexico," said Kennedy.
Kennedy says his client was never under arrest -- and no drugs were found. The hospital later sent Eckert a $6,000 bill. Kennedy says his client wants his story told, but is afraid of retaliation.
"No other way to describe it other than a prisoner in his own home. He is scared to death to go out on the streets," said Kennedy.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says a woman crossing the border from Mexico into El Paso in December 2012 experienced something similar.
"Five remarkably invasive procedures that in any other context would be considered sexual assault," said ACLU Legal Director Laura Schauer-Ives.
Schauer-Ives is filing a lawsuit against federal agents and University Medical Center on behalf of the woman.
"That our drive, or mainly law enforcement's drive, for drug interdiction and control at the border would ever led to vaginal and anal cavity searches is incredible," said Schauer-Ives.
In both cases no drugs were found -- and both clients were left with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
The attorney for David Eckert hopes a jury will award his client millions of dollars in damages.
"There was not one good person to stand up and say this is wrong. You've got the city of Deming, the county of Hidalgo, two doctors, a medical facility, you have an assistant district attorney and you have a district court judge. All of these agencies failed this man," said Kennedy.
The Deming Police Department referred our calls to the city attorney, who was not available for comment.
A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection sent KFOX14 this statement:
"CBP cannot verify information relative to these ACLU allegations since we have not seen a copy of the report, nor have we been provided necessary details in order to investigate.
CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We do not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off-duty."
A UMC spokesperson says the hospital does not comment on pending litigation.