Another man is coming forward this week with allegations that a New Mexico hospital performed forced anal probes looking for drugs after his car was stopped by police for failure to signal when turning.
A week after a lawsuit by David Eckert revealed that police transferred him to Gila Regional Medical Center for forced anal probes and a colonoscopy, Timothy Young says state police transferred him to the same hospital for similar procedures because the same drug dog alerted drug detection during the traffic stop. In both instances, the doctors found no drugs, according to a KOB 4 review of medical records.
In its initial report on Eckert, KOB 4 had said the reason Eckert was transferred to the hospital for invasive searches was because police believed Eckert was clenching his buttocks to hide drugs. But the release of the search warrant reveals that Leo the K-9 alerted to the detection of drugs during both incidents.
In both instances, the police went outside the jurisdiction of the limited search warrant to have the procedures performed at Gila Regional Medical Center. And the drug dog, Leo the K-9, is not even registered in New Mexico as required by state law. Nationwide, there are no standards set for drug dogs, and their reliability is questionable at best. As then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote in a 2005 dissenting opinion, “The infallible dog … is a creature of legal fiction. … In practical terms, the evidence is clear that the dog that alerts hundreds of times will be wrong dozens of times.” Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court last term upheld an alert by a Florida drug dog whose certification had expired.
In August, a federal appeals court invalidated a similarly invasive search after a traffic stop and drug dog alert. The court held the involuntary paralysis and anal probe was a clear Fourth Amendment violation, “degrading,” and “one of the greatest dignitary intrusions that could flow from a medical procedure.” In that case, as in this one, police had taken several suspects to the same doctor whom they knew would perform the searches.
The New Mexico doctors involved in these searches have now been turned over to the state medical board, according to KOB 4.