4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare


#1

KOB (Albuquerque):

4 On Your Side investigates traffic stop nightmare

This 4 On Your Side investigation looks into the actions of police officers and doctors in Southern New Mexico.
A review of medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit show deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center made some questionable decisions.
The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming. According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.

  Eckert's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that  after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, **he appeared  to be clenching his buttocks**.  Law enforcement thought that was probable  cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.   While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a  judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.  
  The lawsuit claims that 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."
  But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City  agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was  admitted.

I’ll summarise the rest; Eckert was X-rayed twice, subjected to three cavity searches, three enemas and a colonoscopy. No drugs were found. He was billed for all these procedures.

Hooray for the War on Drugs!!

The KOB story leaves out that after witnessing Eckert’s butt-clenching behavior they called in a drug-sniffing dog who indicated drugs on the front seat of the car. So-called drug dogs do not have magical powers. They work as a team with their handlers (police). See the Clever Hans effect.


#2

The only problem with this is that the warrant should have been amended to include the neighboring county. The rest of it is by the book. Where is the defendant’s criminal history? Tight lips on whether or not he had a known drug history. If he had no drug involvement, the defense trumpets would be blaring that nationwide. I would guess that there was much more to the probable cause than merely observing someone “appear” to clench their buttocks. The media report is clearly omitting a lot of the details - but that is their job.

The unfortunate factor here is that no drugs were found. It was all based on a court-ordered search warrant. Drug dogs are trained to react to specific known drugs. Dogs cannot lie - they only react once their nose detects something that they have been trained to detect. Certainly, a criminal background check was performed during the application for a search warrant. A judge heard the evidence, found it credible and issued the warrant, which was executed.

I see no evidence of, or charge of lying. Mistakes happen. Sometimes, serious and embarrassing mistakes. This may be one of them. But, is not grasping one’s buttocks at least a mildly suspicious move to make when pulled over for an admitted traffic violation? The application of a drug dog is consistent with good law enforcement, not bad. The constituion requires that arrests and the issuance of warrants be predicated upon the establishment of “probable cause” to believe that a crime has occurred and that the defendant committed that crime. That was done in this case. The basics of this story are by-the-book law enforcement.

Looking at this very brief synopsis, it appears that probable cause - given the totality of the circumstances - was established. A judge confirmed that by issuing the warrant. That means that the search was “warranted” under the law. More than that, the warrant is an order by the Judge to conduct the search. Officers are liable to contempt of court if they do not execute the warrant. Now the poor fellow may be completely innocent in this case, but enforement of the law is based upon incomplete knowledge - as are all human endeavors.

Once the police possess credible information to suspect that someone may be carrying drugs in their body, liability attaches if they do not take action. This has occurred before when drug balloons ruptured and the suspect overdosed or died as a result. It was then the cops’ fault for not performing a cavity search! And, providing the medical details adds only lurid, news-making content to the affair - the media again. As always, only half of the story is being told here. The city’s and doctor’s hands are tied by attorneys, while the defendant can be interviewed unlimited times and provide his defense.

As to the “drug war”, if society surrenders, drugs will be victorious. Remember that the “war” is reactive and not pro-active. it seeks to address a serious problem in society. I do not know of a society that has been founded upon, or has healthily persisted under the tolerance of illicit drugs. The catechism (CCC2211, 2291)has a few things to say about illicit drugs.


#3

That’s unbelievable. They basically sexually assaulted this man. I hope he wins.


#4

Does it matter what the facts are? You have half the story. Should we not hope that justice is done, no matter which way it goes?


#5

He seriously had to pay for this all? :confused:


#6

There is no justice with the current drug laws. Our prisons are flooded with small time drug offenses and it’s mostly African Americans that are put in prision for them. We should be treating drug use as a medical issue, not a criminal.

I really hope he wins. If even a 10th of this is true he deserves justice. How big was this guys colon that they needed to check, double check, triple check, quadrupal check, etc. I’d go on but I forget the terms for 5th, 6th etc.

  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. 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 penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

  6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

  7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

  8. 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. No narcotics were found.


#7

I work as a nurse in an ER. We do regularly get people in custody. They are medically cleared for jail. Sometimes they get a legal blood draw, that is done in a lab under the direction of the officer, or at the bedside during a trauma.

Mainly, we clear them if they are intoxicated or were involved in a scuffle when being arrested, x-rays of any possible injury.

If they are a crime victim, we bag their clothes in paper bags for the police officer. Rape victims get examined by a nurse who has been trained and certified to do so (SANE nurses). They do the interview and collect the evidence.

I’ve never been involved in anything remotely like described.


#8

Drug laws in the US are out of control and ridiculous, and also have no chance of succeeding, they spend millions of dollars to go after smugglers and others who get this stuff into the country, but the very small amount that they seize is nothing compared to what gets thru, this can be seen thru the billions that the drug cartels rake in, and the ever increasing number of addicts in the US, if there is a demand, there will always be someone willing to supply it. that will never change and will only get worse (in the US especially).

I would love to know why the US continues to view addicts as criminals, this is completely wrong and studies now show it is a medical condition, yet law enforcement still keeps it in a criminal light…WTH? Hopefully in the future, someone will sue over this and put law enforcement in its place, God knows they are too ignorant to do it on their own LOL

Personally, I have no problems with someone who wants to use any substance, its their body, why should Govt even be involved in this in the first place? As long as they arent causing problems for others, there is no problems IMO, but I believe the real reason Govt is so against drugs is the lack of taxes being collected, the amounts here are in the billions of $$$


#9

The “unfortunate factor” here as you say is that an innocent citizen was raped and tortured.
The dog in this case was trained but not certified, go here to read the civil complaint scroll down a few pages. Btw, it appears that in New Mexico drug dogs are certified after a two-day course.

I see no evidence of, or charge of lying. Mistakes happen. Sometimes, serious and embarrassing mistakes. This may be one of them. But, is not grasping one’s buttocks at least a mildly suspicious move to make when pulled over for an admitted traffic violation? The application of a drug dog is consistent with good law enforcement, not bad. The constituion requires that arrests and the issuance of warrants be predicated upon the establishment of “probable cause” to believe that a crime has occurred and that the defendant committed that crime. That was done in this case. The basics of this story are by-the-book law enforcement.

“Probable cause”? Yeah, cops can manufacture probable cause out of thin air. If cops decide you are “wrong” they can get a warrant if they want one. Is clenching (not grasping) your butt suspicious? I dunno, the warrant actually describes him “standing erect with his legs together” which is apparently what set alarm bells ringing.

Even IF the warrant were justified why couldn’t they have stopped after the first X-ray and the first cavity search? Because they knew he was “wrong” and would go to any lengths to prove it.


#10

I want to know the facts on this story before I make a judgment. One thing I question is whether or not there were any other factors that contributed to the probable cause? I also want to know why the first ER doctor said it was unethical to do an anal cavity search.


#11

For profit prisons could be a part of the problem.

I think it makes more sense to decriminalize personal drug use and focus our energy on prevention and the suppliers. I was watching that series on drugs (forget the name), it was the one on meth. They showed these people hanging out amonst a bunch of trash under a bridge doing drugs. The cops came in like action movie heros to kick them out. Does kicking someone when they are down like that really help solve anything? I’m not too keen on full legalization of all drugs but think we need to soften up on the addicts.


#12

Three enemas?
Where did they find these ‘doctors’?
An S&M club?
That would explain the charges for this kind of service.


closed #13

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