Police Abuse

The Anal Rape Non-Drug Bust in New Mexico: The Reason for the Warrant

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The excellent Popehat blog gets the specifics on the warrant that led to the anal rape and torture of David Eckert in New Mexico, which I blogged about yesterday.

You can read the specific language of the actual warrant at his post, but here is his accurate summation of it:

The factors that allegedly justify police intrusion into David Eckert's anus are:

  • That his hands were shaking and he avoided eye contact during a traffic stop;
  • He refused to consent to a search of his person;
  • He stood erect with his legs together;
  • No drugs were found in his car or in a pat-down of him (police pat-downs for weapons often turn up drugs, which mysteriously feel like dangerous weapons when touched by police, or which are immediately identifiable as drugs when touched by police);
  • A drug dog (with no information given about the dog's training or qualifications or success rate) "alerted" to his car seat (though no drugs were found in his car); and
  • An unidentified Hidalgo County K-9 officer asserted, without any specificity, that Eckert had previously hidden drugs in his anus.

That's all.  It really comes down to three things:  (1) subjective officer impressions that Eckert looked nervous, (2) a dog alerting on his seat, and (3) an unnamed cop making an unspecific claim that he had previously hidden drugs in his anus. 

The first factor is smoke and mirrors.  It is increasingly clear in America that a reasonable person should be fearful during an encounter with police, who can generally shoot you (or your dog) with probable impunity, and who, it appears, can arrange for you to be systematically anally raped if the mood strikes them…..

The second factor — the dog alert — has its own problems, but at any rate does not connect drugs to Mr. Eckert's anus. The third factor is effectively an anonymous tip. The affiant, Officer Chavez, does not identify the officer, explain the basis for the officer's knowledge, or offer any details about the alleged instances in which drugs were found in Mr. Eckert's anus. Anonymous tips must be corroborated to support probable cause, and this effectively anonymous tip isn't.

Mr. Eckert asserts that drugs were never found in his anus by any law enforcement agency. If true, that suggests someone lied – the K-9 officer who allegedly told Officer Chavez that, or Officer Chavez…..In deciding whether false information was provided to the court to secure the warrant, consider this: the Hidalgo County K-9 officer's report on the incident here doesn't mention any such knowledge about Eckert and doesn't say he conveyed any such information to Officer Chavez. Do you think that would have made it into his report if he had?

Jacob Sullum blogged yesterday about the mysterious powers of dogs to justify anal rape.