New Mexico Man Violated By Police In Illegal Anal Probe Settles For $1.6 Million

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In November, we told you about the New Mexico man who was suing two municipalities and one hospital for participating in a thorough – and we do mean thorough – body cavity search without probable cause, without a legal warrant, and without finding any drugs on him – or in him.

Now that man can claim at least a partial victory. After filing a lawsuit against the City of Deming, Hidalgo County and the Gila Regional Medical Center in November, 54 year-old David Eckert agreed to settle with the two municipal entities for $1.6 million. His lawsuit against the hospital is still in litigation.

What precipitated the lawsuit? A longer version is here, but basically, the police made up an excuse to stop Eckert’s vehicle, repeatedly searched him for drugs after alleging they didn’t like the way he had suspiciously clinched his rear end while exiting his vehicle, and then hauled him out of the county (on an in-county warrant that expired midway through the ordeal) to a hospital – where doctors obediently conducted no fewer than four anal searches involving enemas and a surgical colonoscopy. There were no drugs.

The ordeal took 14 hours, and Eckert never consented to any of the searches. The colonoscopy required that he be sedated – again, without his consent. When it was done, Eckert was billed for all of the medical procedures.

The settlement was reached in late December, less than two months after Eckert filed the suit, but the terms were not made public until this week.

Eckert has understandably kept his profile low in order to avoid being forever linked to the incident in social media. He said in a post-settlement statement that he did not want his image “linked with jokes related to anal probing.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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