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Lawsuit says unreasonable anal searches forced on NM man after a traffic stop

A southern New Mexico man who was pulled over for not making a complete traffic stop was taken to two hospitals and forced to have anal probes, three enemas, two body X-rays and a colonoscopy because police thought he was hiding drugs, according a federal lawsuit.

No drugs were found, and the man is now being billed thousands of dollars for the "illegal, invasive and painful medical procedures," the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of David Eckert against police and sheriff's officials in Deming and Hidalgo County, which borders Mexico. It alleges police wanted the searches conducted because they thought Eckert appeared to be clenching his buttocks when he got out of his car Jan. 2. Police also brought in a drug-sniffing dog, which detected something in the driver's seat.

The officers named in the complaint deny the bulk of the allegations in court responses. One response says Eckert "was known in Hidalgo County to insert drugs into his anal cavity." No additional details were provided.

The lawsuit denies those allegations and lists a host of alleged violations of Eckert's rights, including his being denied the right to make a phone call from the police station. It also says the warrant filed to search his body was valid only in Hidalgo County, but he was taken to a different country after a doctor at the local hospital refused to do the searches citing ethical violations.

The search warrant was signed by a judge but had expired by the time colonoscopy was done, the suit says.

Eckert was never arrested.

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