The latest anger-inducing headline in the War on Drugs.
"I got out of prison a month ago."
“What were you in for?”
“So what are you doing now that you’re out?”
“Trying to be an average Joe. But it’s tough. I was used to having all this money, now I can’t buy a thing. Nobody wants to hire me. I’ve got tattoos. I’ve got a rap sheet. I feel like I’m in this giant hole and I don’t know how to climb out.”
LTMC: This is our criminal justice system at work. We arrest people for doing the “wrong thing,” and then we expect them to do the “right thing” when they get out. But we make doing the “right thing” so extraordinarily difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals that it’s almost impossible to make ends meet without going back to the “wrong thing” again.
Oh, and in the absence of drug prohibition, this man would be able to get a decent job. The War on Drugs claims another victim.
[The incident] began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming. According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.
Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.
Here is what happened to David Eckert after he was taken to a hospital by police to search him for drugs:
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.
This is outrageous. No decent human being should tolerate this sort of behavior. If the allegations in the complaint are true, then every officer involved with this search should be fired and charged with assault.
There is no possible justification for taking a search this far. This is quite possibly one of the most invasive Searches and Seizures I’ve ever seen. It is unprofessional, disgusting, and unconstitutional. Not to mention based on the flimsiest probable cause I’ve ever seen ginned up by law enforcement. Three enemas guys? Really?
Lest there be any question about the ugliness of this particular search & seizure, the first hospital the police took Eckert to refused to perform the search because they felt it was unethical. So they took him to a second hospital which was located in another county. Unfortunately, that means it was outside the scope of the warrant, and making these searches illegal.
One of two things happened here: either the officers involved realized they made a mistake after the initial cavity search, got scared, and started trying to run as many tests as possible to find something—anything—that they could arrest this guy for. Alternatively, they were so convinced of their own authority (and of Eckert’s deviance) that they couldn’t admit to themselves that he was clean. That he was an ordinary, innocent person just like you and me.
But this is the Modus Operandi of drug enforcement. How many times have you failed to obey a traffic law? How many stop signs have you failed to come to a complete stop for? How many times have you sped up for a yellow light that turned red a second before you made it through the intersection? How many times have you turned without using your signal? Or switched lanes over a solid line because you didn’t want to miss an exit? Or veered onto the shoulder while making a turn so you could make the turn more smoothly?
This could have happened to anyone. David Eckert was not a drug dealer, or a gang member, or whatever other degenerate label you want to throw at him. He was a normal person, doing something that millions of people do every day: shopping and lazily obeying traffic laws. For his “sins,” he endured endless humiliation, embarrassment, emotional, mental, and physical trauma.
This is not the first time that police have engaged in shocking behavior to find evidence of drug possession. Imagine a world in which the drugs that these police were allegedly searching for were completely legal. Whatever weak justifications the police had for hungrily probing Eckert’s anal cavity suddenly fall by the wayside The incentives for making these drug arrests disappear. The quotas disappear. And police become more concerned about violent crime than probing our butts for evidence of illegal drug activity.
In a world where we continue to treat drug use as a criminal offense rather than a public health issue, this will continue to occur. Everybody is at risk of having their car stopped, and enduring David Eckert’s nightmare. Imagine having to explain to your spouse and kids why you were late coming home that evening. What would you even say? You can’t even tell young children about half the stuff that was done to Eckert in the name of finding illegal drugs.
And it could have happened to any one of us.
In a broad study on the ramifications of legalizing recreational marijuana about to be published in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, two economics professors said a survey of evidence showed a correlation between increased marijuana use and less alcohol use for people ages 18 to 29.
The researchers…said that based on their study, they expected younger people in Colorado and Washington to use marijuana more and alcohol less.
“These states will experience a reduction in the social harms resulting from alcohol use: Reducing traffic injuries and fatalities is potentially one of the most important,” the professors said."
Marijuana: the gateway drug…to prosperity.
"Research from the American Journal of Medicine shows that active pot smokers have a lower BMI, lower insulin levels, lower insulin resistance, and smaller waistlines than former hippies and squares.”
LTMC: The demon weed strkes again.
On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill that would have led to reduced sentences in many cases involving possession of small amounts of illicit drugs and eased the state’s overcrowded prison crisis.
Far from enacting radical reform, the legislation would merely give judges and prosecutors more flexibility to treat simple possession of cocaine or heroine as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison rather than the current three years for a felony.
At of the end of 2012, 4,144 people were locked up in state prisons for minor drug possession — costing taxpayers $207 million for just one year of incarceration. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the vetoed sentencing reform would have resulted in shorter sentences for about 15 to 30 percent of cases, saving hundreds of millions of dollars and possibly helping to reduce the prison crowding deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. State Sen. Mark Leno (D), who introduced the bill, said the savings would have been funneled to treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Meanwhile, Brown signed a second private prison contract to take on a portion of California’s massive prison population, as Corrections Corporation of America announced Tuesday. A federal court recently ruled that California cannot solve its overcrowded prison problem by trucking inmates off to private prisons in other states, putting a damper on Brown’s costly plan to use private prisons rather than release low-level offenders as ordered by the court. Under this new deal, CCA will take over a federal detention facility in California City and turn it into a state prison.
LTMC: The prison-industrial complex soldiers on.
Police say that two guns were found at the scene and that Mallory raised one of them as deputies approached. The Sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore insisted that “The lesson here is… don’t pull a gun on a deputy.”
Mallory, a former engineer with Lockheed Martin, and his family insisted that he would never threaten an officer. They insist that he was shot in his bed before any warning was given.
LTMC: About that drug war…
But I’m sure if we just keep filling our prisons with non-violent drug offenders and spending more money on drug enforcement, America’s drug problem will go away:
Woops. It’s almost like the War on Drugs has failed by virtually every measure one can imagine.
- “No one should lose voting rights because they spent time in prison.”
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