Tag: police misconduct; police brutality

Police Misconduct: The Worst Case in November

Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct Reporting Project, we have named the worst case for the month of November. It was the repeated, forced cavity search of two young men—in separate incidents—in New Mexico. 

The first victim, David Eckert, was pulled over by police for failing to make a complete stop at a stop sign. After a police K-9 who was uncertified for drug searches indicated the presence of marijuana, the officers told a judge that the victim appeared to be “clenching his buttocks” and requested a body cavity search warrant, which the judge granted. The officers took Eckert to a local hospital and requested that doctors perform the search, but the hospital doctors refused. The cops then took Eckert to a second hospital, in a neighboring county that was not covered by the warrant, where they found doctors willing to perform the search.

First, the doctors took an x-ray of Eckert’s abdomen, which showed no hidden drugs. Next, they forcibly probed Eckert’s anus with their fingers, which again uncovered no drugs. Undeterred, the doctors inserted an enema and forced Eckert to defecate in front of the officers: again, no drugs. The enema search was repeated twice, and still no drugs were found. Another x-ray was taken: no drugs. To cap off Eckert’s nightmare ordeal, the officers had the doctors sedate him and perform a colonoscopy, probing his anus, colon, rectum, and large intestines. No drugs found.  All of this was done against Eckert’s protest, in a county not covered by the search warrant, with part of the search done after the warrant had expired.

The second victim, Timothy Young, was brutalized in a similar manner after he was pulled over for failing to signal before making a turn, and after another marijuana indication by the same non-certified police dog. He was taken to the same hospital as Eckert and subjected to similar searching methods against his protests.

Cato’s Police Misconduct website often reports instances of police rape and sexual misconduct. In those cases, the offending officers typically do not contend that they have the legal right to abuse their victims’ bodies and are typically punished for their crime, even if often more lightly than others would be punished. Cases like this are entirely different. These cases show that officers can drum up warrants—for a dog’s bark and a perceived “clench”—to repeatedly and forcefully penetrate the depths of the human body for hours on end, and still think they have the power and lawful authority to repeat the process. Even worse, the futile, repeated nature of the searches seriously calls into doubt whether the officers were actually searching for drugs or just torturing the victims under the banner of law enforcement.

Police Misconduct — The Worst Case in October

Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web site, we’ve selected the worst case for October:

So for October, it was Atlantic City Police Officer Sterling Wheaton. Recall that David Castellani had exchanged words with police outside a casino. Those officers took Castellani to the ground. Officer Wheaton then arrives on the scene and he immediately releases his dog to attack Castellani, who is still on the ground. The dog proceeds to bite Castellani’s head and neck.

The runner up goes to the Houston police officer who raped a handcuffed woman in the backseat of his patrol car. Responding to a fender bender, officer Adan Carranza handcuffed and arrested the victim and then waited for the other drivers involved in the accident to leave. The victim said Carranza, wearing his gun and badge, then raped her in the back of the patrol car before driving her to jail for a reckless driving charge. DNA evidence from the victim and back seat confirm the allegations, and Carranza has pled guilty—but only to attempted sexual assault. Carranza’s lawyer is hopeful his client will be paroled after only two or three years of his ten year sentence, of which he could serve as little as six months if a judge agrees to “shock probation.” One has to wonder how many rapists get that kind of deal.

Police Misconduct — The Worst Case in September

Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web page, where we track misconduct stories from around the country, we highlight the worst story each month. 

For September, it is the police brutality case of Christina West.  Not because this case is a particularly unique or rare an occurrence, but because it puts such a visceral image to the problem of police brutality.