DEMING, N.M., Jan. 17 (UPI) — Authorities in Hidalgo County, N.M., have settled a lawsuit for $1.6 million with a man who claims they illegally made him undergo colonoscopies and enemas.
David Eckert, 54, filed a lawsuit against the county and its police department in 2013, for allegedly violating his constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures during a 12-hour ordeal early in January 2013, CNN reported.
The suit said Eckert was pulled over for not properly stopping at a stop sign in Deming, N.M.
During the traffic stop, Eckert “was avoiding eye contact with me,” his “left hand began to shake,” and he stood “erect (with) his legs together,” a police affidavit detailing the stop stated.
Eckert was told he could leave the scene, but before doing so he consented to a search of him and his vehicle, during which a K-9 dog hit a spot on the driver’s seat, according to the affidavit. However, no drugs were found in the vehicle.
A “Hidalgo County K-9 officer did inform me that he had dealt with Mr. Eckert on a previous case and stated that Mr. Eckert was known to insert drugs into his anal cavity and had been caught in Hidalgo County with drugs in his anal cavity,” the affidavit said.
Eckert was placed under “investigative detention” and brought to the Deming Police Department around 2 p.m., then to a local hospital where “no drugs were found” after “an X-ray and two digital searches of his rectum by two different doctors,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit alleged that while Eckert was in custody, he was forced to undergo three enemas and a colonoscopy, during which authorities found “no drugs.” The plaintiff was in custody until about 1:25 a.m.
“(Authorities) acted completely outside the bounds of human decency by orchestrating wholly superfluous physical body cavity searches performed by an unethical medical professional,” the plaintiff asserted.
Eckert agreed to settle the lawsuit on Dec. 20, but the case became public only recently, CNN said.
Eckert “feels gratified that the city and county acted quickly, and … that they recognize his dignity and humanity,” his lawyer, Joe Kennedy, said Thursday. “He expects that it won’t happen to anyone else ever again.”