A man in New Mexico was pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation. When officers said a K-9 unit sniffed drugs on the driver’s seat, the officers forced the man to undergo invasive medical procedures, including an anal exam.
It may sound nearly identical to David Eckert’s nightmarish story as reported by TheBlaze Tuesday, but this is an entirely different incident.
It does, however, involve the same uncertified drug-sniffing dog in New Mexico. The dog’s name is Leo.
Police in Lordsburg, N.M., pulled over Timothy Young for allegedly turning without using his blinker, according to police reports. Though it is unclear why, the officers with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department suspected the driver of possessing drugs, KOB-TV reported.
The incident occurred on Oct. 13, 2012, according to the timestamp on the police car’s dashcam video.
Just like in Eckert’s case, Leo the K-9 alerted officers to possible drugs on Young’s seat, the report said.
Armed with what police said was probable cause and a search warrant, officers took Young to the Gila Medical Center in Silver City, N.M. The name of the hospital may sound familiar because it’s the exact same hospital Eckert was taken for the invasive hunt for drugs in his body that lasted more than 12 hours.
Young was then reportedly subjected to X-rays and an anal exam. They found no drugs.
Young, just like Eckert, says he did not consent to any of the procedures, which were performed in a county not covered by the search warrant obtained by police.
The similarities between the two cases go on and on.
Now, KOB-TV is reporting that Leo the K-9 “seems to get it wrong pretty often.” As it turns out, the K-9 is not even currently certified in the state of New Mexico.
Leo’s certification to be a drug dog reportedly expired in April 2011. K-9s need yearly re-certification sources, and Leo is more than two years behind. But as Reason.com notes, that may not matter:
According to the Supreme Court, none of this necessarily disqualifies Leo as an informant reliable enough to obtain a warrant authorizing the sort of humiliating searches that Eckert and Young underwent. Last February the justices unanimously ruled that “a court can presume” an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search “if a bona fide organization has certified a dog after testing his reliability in a controlled setting” or “if the dog has recently and successfully completed a training program that evaluated his proficiency in locating drugs.
Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, who spoke with TheBlaze on Tuesday, said she possesses evidence that “this dog has had false alerts in the past.”
While police officers involved in the incidents will face a law enforcement board, the doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center could also lose their ability to practice medicine if the state licensing board determines any wrongdoing.
TheBlaze has reached out to the Deming Police Department about Eckert’s case, but our messages have not been returned. When we contacted the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department for more information on Young’s case, a spokeswoman told us to contact their “lawyers.” We left a message and are awaiting a call back.
Kennedy says she is filing a federal lawsuit on Young’s behalf.
Eckert was subjected to X-rays, multiple anal exams, enema procedures and a colonoscopy. He has filed a federal lawsuit against multiple parties, including officers Bobby Orosco and Robert Chavez who the lawsuit says were involved in the stop:
To make matters worse, Eckert’s attorneys say their client was sent a $6,000 bill for the medical procedures he underwent involuntarily.
It’s unknown if Young was sent a similar bill.
Read TheBlaze’s previous story on Eckert’s ordeal here.
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