Albuquerque civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy is representing Eckert and says she is seeking “in excess of $1 million in punitive damages alone” from the law enforcement and medical personnel responsible and their employers.
"We see this as a multimillion-dollar case," Kennedy said. "This is essentially medical anal rape, numerous times over a 12-hour period. I can’t imagine anything more horrifying than what happened to our client. It’s just sadistic."
The apparent justification for the search, Kennedy said, was that police believed Eckert’s buttocks were clenched during the traffic stop.
But, she said, it’s also possible the officers just didn’t like how her client looks.
"Maybe the officers who did this don’t like him living in their community," said Kennedy. "He’s a white boy, a scraggly white boy, and all these officers are Hispanic. It’s a New Mexico thing."
Kennedy said her client, 63-years-old when he was detained, looks somewhat like rocker Tom Petty and says he denies standing with his buttocks clenched.
After arriving at the Gila facility, doctors examined Eckert’s anal cavity twice with their fingers, put him through an x-ray scan and then inserted three rounds of enemas into his anus. After each enema, doctors examined the stool sample produced. Eckert was then given a second x-ray scan and forced to undergo a colonoscopy with anesthesia.
It’s unclear why the colonoscopy was necessary after enemas and x-rays did not reveal hidden drugs. Eckert was sent a $6,000 bill for the medical procedures he involuntarily underwent, his lawyer says.
Kennedy says her client lives in fear of retaliation yet wants to share his story “to protect others, to let them know this happened.”
But, she says, he also wants to guard his privacy and doesn’t want to be known as “the anally probed guy.””