Deming, New Mexico is a small town, with a population of only 14,116 people. However, in this idyllic community, perhaps best known for serving as a filming location for ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull’, local resident David Eckert was subjected to an unbelievable nightmare on January 2, 2013— one that lasted well into the next day and should make us question just how much power the friendly police officers patrolling our streets should have.
After being pulled over by police after a routine shopping trip at his local Wal-Mart (Eckert allegedly didn’t make a full stop at the stop sign while exiting the parking lot), Eckert was asked to get out of his vehicle. After it was found that Eckert was clenching his buttocks as he exited the vehicle, law enforcement deduced that Eckert must have been hiding drugs in his anal cavity, according to Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, in a statement given to local TV station KOB. This snap judgement was the catalyst in a horrific turn of events that held Eckert and his body hostage for the next few hours.
Eckert was then detained by police officers for a period of time while they procured a search warrant allowing them to transport him to a local hospital to conduct a cavity search for drugs. Eckert was admitted to the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, New Mexico, where KOB Eyewitness News discovered the following transpired:
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.
There are several elements of this account that seem almost unimaginable. First, it’s both appalling and terrifying that medical professionals would submit an individual who has not been charged with a crime to so many medical procedures. All over an allegedly clenched buttocks?
Additionally, when two X-ray searches found no drugs in or on Eckert’s person, the fact that he was sedated and subjected to an invasive medical procedure is an egregious abuse of power that the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office needs to answer for. What we CAN confirm is that law enforcement did not locate drugs, even after the 8 humiliating attempts, and that David Eckert is in the process of filing suit against the officers involved and the police department as a whole.
Sadly, police brutality is more commonplace than we think, even in the United States. On October 22, 2013, Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill saw dozens of protesters united against police brutality. When RT reported on the protest, organizers told them about the Stolen Lives project: over the past decades, thousands of lives have been blighted and destroyed in protests brutally suppressed by police.
However, this situation is different in several important ways. First, David Eckert did not participate in a protest, or in any other event which required a police presence. Second and most importantly, he was humiliated and essentially tortured all over a hunch by a law enforcement officer and a misguided judgement of body language. The fact that this ordeal continued for as long as it did speaks volumes about the quality of care provided by the physicians in question, and the judgement of the law enforcement officers involved.
When contacted for this story, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office declined to answer any questions. You can reach them at (575)542-3833.