Read this and watch the video.
At first, I had to check that this wasn’t an Onion article. It is inconceivable to me that anyone involved in this travesty could think this is acceptable or even defensible. But, this is America, where drugs are bad, mmkay. Drugs are apparently so bad that anal rape by police and doctors is now being prescribed as a tool for fighting the drug war.
So just why did a routine traffic stop lead to this? 1) Mr. Eckert was apparently clenching his buttocks excessively, and 2) a drug-sniffing dog alerted police to possible narcotics on his torso. Interestingly, the Deming and Hidalgo County police officers seem to have a certain amount of excitement regarding clenched buttocks; I suppose everyone has peculiar peccadilloes. Drug sniffing dogs, however, have a rather questionable level of effectiveness.
Even giving these suspicions the benefit of the doubt, I cannot conceive of a drug mule being so effective as to endure the number and variety of procedures Mr. Eckert was subjected to without being detected. I can think of only two possible reasons this played out the way it did: 1) these police officers have a scat fetish, or 2) these police officers were “offended” by Mr. Eckert’s objections to complying with the search and decided to teach him a lesson, as in “bend over, serf, and submit to my authoritah!” I am leaning heavily toward #2, a frightening and increasing trend in our over-policed society, though I have not dismissed the possibility that both are a factor.
Reasonableness appears to be a moot point, however, as the search itself appears to have been illegal on a few levels. You see, the warrant was valid only for Luna county, but the Gila facility where the procedures were performed is in a different county. Then there is the matter of the colonoscopy portion of the exam which was performed after the warrant expired. Of course, “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place,” according to Chief Gigante. I suppose when you are the police state, the law is whatever you say it is.
I should say bravo to the one party involved this debacle who acted appropriately: the doctor at the E.R. in Deming who refused to perform these procedures on the grounds that they were unethical. You are a decent and honorable human being, one of the few in Luna County, it would seem.
The police officers involved here, however, deserve eternal scorn and condemnation for their behavior: Deming Police Officers Bobby Orosco, Robert Chavez and Officer Hernandez along with Hidalgo County Deputies David Arredondo, Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Green. May their names be forever associated with anal rape in google searches for as long as they shall live. I would like to see them all fired for this, but sadly, as Radley Balko noted on twitter, one of them was promoted just four months after the incident and police unions have a terribly effective track record of protecting abusive cowards such as these.
The Gila Regional Medical Center (Robert Wilcox, M.D and Okay Odocha, M.D.) deserves all the publicity possible for this as well. Not only did they force medically unnecessary procedures on an unwilling patient, but they had the audacity to bill him for thousands of dollars afterward. I suggest you leave some comments here. I also suggest you never walk through their doors for any sort of medical procedure. A medical facility that employs doctors with nonexistent ethical standards is not a safe place for you or your family.
Damage control is well underway. The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Unit Facebook page has been deleting comment after comment left on their page. The Gila Regional Medical Center took down their facebook page shortly after the story went viral. Of course, you saw how Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante responded to the reporter at the end of the KOB 4 video.
I for one intend to stay as far away from southern New Mexico as I possibly can. I suggest you do the same.
Edited to add: This appears to not be an isolated incident with Hidalgo County and Deming.
Edited again to add: More additional info and kudos to KOB 4 for keeping on top of this story.