Why not, you ask? Because it may be interpreted as probable cause to conduct an anal-cavity search.
According to this KOB News report, police in Deming, New Mexico, and some doctors they convinced to help them, conducted no fewer than six manual searches of David Eckert's anus in the hours after they stopped him on January 2. (His crime: allegedly failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.) The officers asked Eckert to get out of the car. The lawsuit alleges that after he did so, the officers noted that he "appeared to be clenching his buttocks," and interpreted this as "probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity."
By the way, Eckert was leaving a Walmart parking lot, not crossing an international border. (Luna County itself is on the border, but Deming is 45 minutes away.) Not that alleged buttocks-clenching plus border proximity should serve as probable cause, but still.
In a somewhat surprising move, the officers actually sought a search warrant before proceeding any further. Astonishingly, some judge granted it. And that is when the real nightmare began.
The officers evidently did not want to perform the search themselves, which is certainly understandable (although it strikes me that it might be a good rule to require the decisionmaker to do the search). So they took Eckert to the emergency room. The report doesn't say which one, but it was probably at Mimbres Memorial Hospital, just because a town of 14,000 probably doesn't have that many hospitals. I wanted to be sure to mention Mimbres, if it's the right place, because doctors there refused to perform this butt-clenching-prompted anal-cavity search, saying it was "unethical."
Rather than taking the hint, these officers decided to look for less ethical doctors. They carted Eckert over to the Gila Regional Medical Center (which I also wanted to mention). Now, in general, GRMC may be a very capable and generally ethical institution. This is just one incident. Certainly its website says all the right things. I noticed, though, that it also bears the slogan: "We believe that we are human beings, caring for other human beings." It is a little concerning that they haven't yet been able to confirm they are human—I mean, they are doctors—and what follows suggests they are uncertain about the second part, too. Because according to KOB's summary of the medical records Eckert released to it, here's what they did to an unconsenting patient/victim (WARNING: unpleasant even to read):
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.
Not much else happening on a Wednesday night, I guess. Otherwise, you'd think they'd have called it off after maybe the first four or five medical procedures produced no evidence? But some human being (or was it?) actually considered the matter at that point and said something like, "okay, the first two enemas didn't turn up anything. Let's try one more. And then maybe a colonoscopy, but then we really have to call it a night." What did they say afterward? "Sorry"?
I guess he should be thankful they didn't dissect him. I mean, they had a warrant.
But about that warrant…. It was issued in Luna County. But GRMC is in Silver City, New Mexico. Which is in Grant County. In which whoever issued this warrant has no authority. Even if they had not taken their victim across the county line, the warrant expired at 10 p.m. The records show that the colonoscopy started three hours later. Horrifying enough that they were still going hours and hours later, but they were also doing so illegally, even assuming there had been probable cause—which, remember, they derived from the clenching of buttocks by someone who rolled through a stop sign.
"This is like something out of a science-fiction film," Eckert's lawyer said. "Anal probing by government officials and public employees." Well, they believe they are human beings, at least.
You might think this story can't get any worse, but you know what? You're wrong.
According to the report, the medical center billed him for this.
Now, why was Eckert clenching his buttocks to begin with (if he really was)? I don't know. Nor do I care. It's supposed to be a free country, isn't it? We may not agree with another person's decision to clench, but we should defend to the death that person's right to do so.
Or something like that.