National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Worst of the Month — November 2013

For November, it had to be the repeated, forced, anal rape-search of young men—in two separate occurrences—in New Mexico.  The first victim, David Eckert, was pulled over and detained for not making a complete stop at a stop sign.  After a judge gave the arresting officers a warrant for a body cavity search because the officers said the victim appeared to be “clenching his buttocks,” the officers took him to a local hospital.  After a doctor at the first hospital denied the agents’ demands, they took Eckert to another hospital, where the officers demanded he be subject to forced, repeated anal penetration.

First, the doctors took an x-ray of Eckert’s abdomen, which showed no hidden narcotics.  Next, the doctors forcibly probed Eckert’s anus with their fingers, which uncovered no hidden narcotics.  Undeterred, the doctors penetrated Eckert once again to insert an enema and force Eckert to defecate in front of the officers: no drugs.  Eckert was given two additional enemas and forced to defecate so the officers could watch a few more times.  No drugs were found. Another x-ray was taken: no drugs.  To cap off Eckert’s torture-rape-search, the officers had the doctors sedate Eckert and give him a colonoscopy, penetrating his anus, colon, rectum, and large intestines.  No drugs found.  All of this was done against Eckert’s protest, in a county not covered by the search warrant, with part of the search done after the warrant had expired.

Timothy Young was brutalized in the same manner after failing to put his blinker on before a turn.  He was taken to the same hospital and subjected to similar searching methods against his protests.  In both cases, the police officers used the same uncertified K-9 to get a positive alert for marijuana to justify the warrants.

This website often reports instances of police rape and sexual misconduct, but in these cases, the offending officers typically do not contend that they have the right to abuse their victims’ bodies and are typically punished for their crime, even if often more lightly than others would be punished.  Cases like this are entirely different.  These cases show that officers can drum up warrants—for a dog’s bark and a perceived “clench”—to repeatedly and forcefully penetrate the depths of the human body for hours on end, and still think they have the power and lawful authority to repeat the process.  Even worse, the futile, repeated nature of the searches seriously calls into doubt whether the officers were actually searching for drugs or just torturing the victims under the banner of law enforcement.

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