New Mexico can be a wonderful place, the kind of place where you can find everything from the “Octopus Car Wash” to your future wife. But for David Eckert, one particular night in New Mexico was a nightmare — one for which the settlement has finally arrived.
The B&B expressed plenty of righteous anger when Mr. Eckert was subjected to repeated invasive medical procedures in what Forbes magazine memorably called a “dog-approved anal assault.” The incident stirred renewed debate about the power that police have to make ordinary citizens completely miserable.
Now, the Associated Press reports that Mr. Eckert has settled his lawsuits against the the city and county in which the attack occurred. The total is reportedly $1.6 million, some major percentage of which will undoubtedly be siphoned off by his attorneys.
Quoth the AP,
In a statement, Eckert said he felt vindicated by the settlement. “I feel that I got some justice as I think the settlement shows they were wrong to do what they did to me,” Eckert said. “I truly hope that no one will be treated like this ever again. I felt very helpless and alone on that night.”
No doubt. This is the kind of thing that simultaneously makes you despair for America (as a police state where the suspicion of drugs is used to sexually assault a man again and again) and cheer for it (as a nation of law where Mr. Eckert wasn’t simply dumped and killed afterwards, and where the responsible individuals are eventually brought to heel). Regardless, a court has recognized that the cops went too far this time.
Lawsuits against the hospital and doctors who did the bidding of the police with no regard for Mr. Eckert’s health, safety, or human rights are still pending. Let’s hope that a clear message is sent to them, as well. To assist tyrants in their depredations of our dignity is scarcely any less despicable than to be the tyrants themselves.