It’s one of the most shocking and infamous cases to ever come out of New Mexico: A man, falsely suspected of carrying drugs, forced to undergo multiple anal cavity searches.
Now, a year and half after the incident and six months after a settlement of $1.6 million in local taxpayer money was announced, New Mexico Watchdog has learned at least three police officers involved in the case are still on the job, while the status of three others remains a secret.
Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante told New Mexico Watchdog all three officers in his department who were listed as defendants in a subsequent lawsuit are on active duty. Gigante wouldn’t say why or reveal if the officers were disciplined.
“That is a personnel matter,” Gigante said in a telephone interview.
Three members of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office were also listed in the lawsuit, but county officials refused to answer any questions about their status in the aftermath of the case involving Lordsburg, N.M., resident David Eckert.
A settlement was announced in January in which the 64-year-old Eckert will get $950,000 from the city of Deming and $650,000 from Hidalgo County — a total of $1.6 million for which taxpayers in the two communities are responsible.
According to the lawsuit, in early 2013 Eckert was pulled over by Deming police allegedly for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign in a Walmart parking lot in Deming. Hidalgo County sheriff’s officers also arrived on the scene.