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Driver who endured three enemas after routine traffic stop awarded $1.6 million

A New Mexico driver has been awarded $1.6 million after having to undergo a series of humiliating medical procedures following a routine traffic stop.
A New Mexico driver has been awarded $1.6 million after having to undergo a series of humiliating medical procedures following a routine traffic stop.Gawker

A New Mexico driver who was forced to endure a series of humiliating medical procedures following a routine traffic stop has been awarded a settlement of $1.6 million.

David Eckert, 54, was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal last January that involved repeated enemas and anal probes in a failed attempt to find illegal substances hidden in his anal cavity.

Police claimed that Eckert looked nervous when he was pulled over for failing to yield at a stop sign and appeared to be 'clenching his buttocks.'

After a police dog indicated that there were drugs on the driver's seat of Eckert's Dodge pickup truck, Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies detained Eckert and obtained a warrant for an anal cavity search, despite finding no other evidence of any illegal substances in the vehicle.

Doctors at the first hospital that Eckert was taken to refused to perform the procedures on ethical grounds, but he was transferred to Gila Regional Medical Center, where he underwent repeated body searches, X-rays, and a colonoscopy.

No drug evidence was found in any of the procedures.

In a statement issued after the settlement was announced, Eckert expressed his relief at the verdict.

"I think the settlement shows they were wrong to do what they did to me. I truly hope that no one will be treated like this ever again. I felt very helpless and alone on that night," he said.

Eckert's lawyer, Sharon Kennedy told the Associated Press,

"It was medically unethical and unconstitutional.

"He feels relieved that this part is over and believes this litigation might make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."

As reported by Gawker, the medical procedures performed on Eckert were as follows:

1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.