New Mexico’s Police Breaking Badly

by Fred Foldvary

The AMC television channel recently concluded the drama “Breaking Bad.” The series was about a high-school chemistry teacher who has terminal cancer and “breaks bad” by making methamphetamine to get money for his treatments and for his family. The episodes take place in New Mexico, and some of the scenes occur in the desert.

Now the state government of New Mexico is breaking into real-life evil. Its police are stopping drivers and forcing them to submit to intrusive body searches and medical tests for drugs, including X-rays and colonoscopies. The hospitals then bill the victims for the involuntary procedures.

The State of New Mexico is establishing the principle that the state may force people to undergo medical procedures that they then must pay for. The worst aspect of governmental medical provision is that the health of individuals becomes a governmental matter, and therefore the state takes control over medical decisions. The federal and state governments may, in the future, force people to adopt preventive measures and periodic tests. The government will not only force citizens to have medical insurance, but also force people to submit to procedures such as anti-smoking treatments and colonoscopies.

One of the victims of medical coercion is suing the City of Deming in a U.S. District Court for being forced to submit to X-rays, enemas, and a colonoscopy. The police and doctors did not find any drugs in his body. As justification, the police claim that the driver was clenching his buttocks after being stopped for a traffic violation and ordered out of his car.

After that lawsuit was registered, it was reported that another man was probed for drugs in a New Mexico hospital after his car was stopped by police for failure to signal. The news media are now reporting that other drivers in New Mexico are being searched after getting stopped for alleged traffic violations. The police suspect the drivers of drug violations due to their appearance or due to dog sniffing, often with untrained dogs, and obtain warrants for the intrusive drug tests and body searches. In the case of the driver suing the state, the warrant was not even valid for the county and the time in which the colonoscopy took place.

The police in other states have been doing similar things. In Tennessee, the police took a man cited for an expired car licence to a hospital for drug tests, after a sniffing by a drug dog. A woman in Texas was strip-searched and double-probed by the police and by doctors.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Unfortunately it is easy for the police to evade the Fourth Amendment because they can claim that their searches and seizures are reasonable. and some judges will routinely issue warrants if a dog, even if untrained, growls or points at the victim, or perhaps if the victim seems nervous.

Long ago, and still in some countries, highways were dangerous because robbers would halt a carriage or train and steal from the riders. Now, in the USA, the highwaymen are the police who are not content to merely issue citations, but use traffic violations as an excuse to enforce the drug laws. Driving in New Mexico is now dangerous because of the police predators.

Ecology is the relationship of living beings to one another and the environment. Evolution seems to generate predator-prey ecologies. Now that large predators such as lions and wolves have been eradicated from human habitat, ecology has generated human predators such as hijackers. Government is supposed to protect the public from such predators, but the drug laws have turned the police into yet another set of predators.

The German philosopher Nietzsche wrote that the “will to power” is the strongest human motivator. Individuals who seek the thrill of exerting power now become traffic officers, because they can stop any driver and have power over and into his body. This police predation is legalized rape.

22 thoughts on “New Mexico’s Police Breaking Badly

  1. @ Fred Folvary

    Fred: This is so disturbing that it’s worth giving a reference or two. (Yes, I don’t want to believe the story you tell; I actively don’t want to.)

    I don’t know if you feel like doing anything but if I had an address or an email I would send money to the people who have started the lawsuit.

  2. Brandon Christensen responded to my private expression of skepticism by directed me to an article in Forbes under the pen of a Jacob Sollum, identified simply as a “contributor.” The article only amplified my disbelief. [the article can be found here; I also submitted these thoughts by an economist at AEI, a neoconservative think tank – bc]

    Let me say first that whether there were drugs anywhere on or in the person described as a victim in Sollum’s article is irrelevant to me. If he had secreted a pound of cocaine on his person, the treatment he allegedly received as decribed by Sollum and as condemned by Fred Folvary is completely unacceptable. It’s so unacceptable that the Sollum article might sound to some as a call to insurrection. This is a serious matter, not a small issue of divergent opinions. One should be responsible when handling such stories.

    I am not a doctor but I am a familiar with the procedure called colonoscopy. It’s a grossly invasive procedure. It involves the deep introduction of a flexible object far into the intestines. In this country, colonoscopies necessitate adminstering two different drugs to the patient including one that suppresses the memory of the event itself.

    They are always performed by medical doctors who receive special training because the procedure is inherently dangerous. An accidental perforation of the intestine is difficult to repair. It can easily turn deadly.

    The Sollum article describes a colonoscopy allegedly imposed on a victim of police abuse by emergency room doctors. I don’t believe a colonoscopy is ever performed on an emergency basis. The unusual nature of such a performance would place the medical personnel performing it at serious legal and professional risk. I think there is never any medical reason for performing a colonoscopy on an emergency basis. It’s a diagnostic procedure.

    Anyone who has had a colonoscopy knows that the preparation for the procedure involves emptying the digestive system for 24 hours or more. That’s because of the “scopy” part of the procedure. One cannot see inside the gut unless it has been emptied thoroughly. Mr Sollum wants us to believe that the victim was held against his will for twenty-four hours and that powerful purgatives were administered to him against his will during that detention. I do not believe this happened.It’s hard to believe in a world where it’s very difficult to find doctors who will even assist in force-feeding a hunger-striking prisoner to save his life.

    I also do not believe the medical doctors named in the Sollum article would take the professional and legal risk of collaborating with the police by administering a dangerous procedure that is not medically mandated and against a patient’s will, and against his medical interest (because of the danger involved).

    Such actions would be so clearly violations of the Hypocratic oath that performing them would be tantamount to asking to be sued or expelled from the profession, or both. What could possibly motivate doctors to engage in such behavior, at once obviously disgusting from a moral viewpoint, and legally and professionally risky?

    This story does not make sense. Forbes was taken and Fred Folvary was taken, I believe.

    There is a good chance that this criticism will simply be ignored because of the fast moving news cycle. It will leave in many readers a bitter impression. The bitter impression will have the effect of erasing further in their minds the large difference between constitutional government such as prevails in most western countries, on the one hand, and a central African tyranny, for instance where the rule of government involves routine atrocities.

    This kind of story trivializes real evil the way leftists do all the time, by calling “rape,” for example, what happens between a drunken nineteen year-old girl and her equally drunk nineteen-year old boyfriend out on a bad date.

    Government in countries following the rule of law is too big, too invasive, too coercive even in its routine functioning. It is intrinsically inimical to individual liberties and to human happiness. It’s also fundamentally different from tyrannies; it’s much preferable to tyrannies.

    PS I believe the war on drugs is the biggest catastrophe that hit this country in the past forty years.

  3. Addendum to me previous comment on Fred Folvarty’s piece on the New Mexico police: I am aware that Jacob Sollum is famous in libertarian circles. I think that this where the danger lies. Guruism is devastating to the pursuit of truth. Ideological zeal is a major source of mendacity as well as of naivety.

  4. First off, I’d like to apologize to readers for Jacques’s boorishness. Of course he doesn’t really mean to accuse Fred of “being played.” Who would Fred be getting played by, anyway? This is a serious question.

    Similarly, Jacques’s charges of “guruism” and “ideological zeal” might sting a little more if it weren’t for the fact that he still believes the war in Iraq was successful, or that European colonialism was good for the natives.

    Everything Fred wrote about is factually true (hence the lawsuit Fred reported on; I hope there are many more). The fact that people in the medical field do work with the police is what probably prompted Fred to write this piece in the first place.

    Your complacency, and your fretting about what decent people will think of libertarians for defending the rights of individuals, is morally reprehensible. And states in central Africa have constitutions, too. The governments there just ignore the letter of the law. Kind of like the governments here are doing.

  5. Brandon’s response is a little strange in its indignation.

    I think the forced colonoscopy did not happen because of the technical reasons I gave.
    Fred – with many others – was played by the author of the Forbes article, Jacob Sollum. The guru I refer to is not Fred but Sollum. Fred is one of the many people who was played. Brandon Christensen is another. He is satisfied to assert that everything Fred asserts is factually true without addressing the causes of my skepticism. “It’s true because I said so.”
    I don’t fret much about what “decent people” think of libertarians. I worry that the story in Sollum, and repeated in Folvary’s article, can easily be understood as a call to arms, I mean literally, a call to arms. (Think of what you would be tempted to do if it happened to you, to one of your friends, even to strangers, but on a large scale.)Thus, if the story is not true, as I think it’s not, repeating it is very irresponsible.

    Brandon says, “Your complacency… will think of libertarians for defending the rights of individuals…” implies that I am against the defense of individual rights. That’s, in a nutshell, the problem I address: “If you don’t see reality the way we do, you …, if you use reason to express doubts, you…. ” Where have we heard this before?

    Is there any cause so noble, so just that it requires that we close our eyes?

    • A hoax is a possibility; who you think created it and to what purpose? Chris Ramirez of KOB Eyewitness News 4 in Albuquerque seems to be the first to do a story which was then picked up by other media. That involves a man named David Eckert. A second lawsuit with similar claims has been filed by a man named Timothy Young. Both suits were filed by the same attorney, Shannon Kennedy.

      Who do you believe is the hoaxter, the journalist, the lawyer, the alleged victims, all of them?

      Assuming that it’s not fabricated you might find this snippet interesting:
      “The police first sought to obtain the cavity search from a nearby emergency room, but the ER doctor refused to conduct it, stating it would be unethical to do so. Police then drove the man to the Gila Regional Medical Center, located in a different county (and outside the scope of the warrant).”

  6. Terry: I don’t need to speculate about the identity of the hoaxer or hoaxers to propose that a story is not true. Let me give you an illustration that will probably make an impression on you.

    We heard for years that the use of cannabis makes men impotent and that it degrades their genetic make-up. It does neither. (It does make you lazy though but only in large quantities. It may cause weight gain indirectly but it smoothes your relationship with your wife, if any. But I don’t need to tell you!)

    It would make for a better counter-story if I knew who or what started the false rumors about cannabis. Yet the expression of skepticism stands on its own. It should be enough to warn the innocent not to take the rumor at face value, to request evidence. The simple expression of disbelief, repeated often, may be enough to make a difference in the willingness of citizens to consent to the grotesque monstrous war on drugs

    Have you had a colonoscopy yourself? It’s not an experience one forgets easily.

    • “Have you had a colonoscopy yourself? It’s not an experience one forgets easily.”

      Yes, just recently had a third one. Luckily, I won’t have to have another for several more years.

      “Terry: I don’t need to speculate about the identity of the hoaxer or hoaxers to propose that a story is not true.”

      Yes, you are right. However, the credibility of your alternative to the story being true is not enhanced a whit by leaving it as a hoax by unknown parties for unknown reasons.

      Since there is litigation on the matter I guess we’ll eventually know if it was a hoax by ‘them’ or not.

  7. The reasons for enthusiasm for the story are easy to understand whether there is actually an organized hoax or not. (Some quasi-stories may happen without a hoax,from the random sorting of millions of items dropped carelessly onto Internet. A hoax requires forethought.)

    Explaining why government is objectionable, overcoming the “general interest” argument liberals like you make all the time and that is taught in schools from the youngest age is heavy lifting. It’s tempting to take a shortcut and to try and point to outrageous atrocities acted out by agents of the state (and perhaps, by luck, becoming routine).

    In another camp, making people read Karl Marx’s labor theory of value (an ingenuous fallacy) is hard work. It’s easier to preach revolution if you can point at instances of capitalists slaughtering “workers.”

    The shortcuts have political consequences in both cases that I deplore. I will let someone else draw them out. I will just say that credibility matters ; it matters more than ever.

    • If credibility matters then perhaps you, Jacques, would do us all a favor and explain why you believe that the Iraq war was a rousing success? Tell us all how you’re no fool for believing government agents when they said Baghdad had WMDs.

      Better yet, if credibility matters why don’t you show us all how Fred and I have been “played” for fools. Failing to do so would just make you a libelous troll on the blog, rather than a serious defender of the police state. Here, I’ll help you out: the legal cases that have been brought forth all mention the acts that you were so skeptical about. Attacking the messenger, as you are doing here, is a despicable fallacy and you should know better.

      Now, Jacques is playing the victim here. Nobody ever said he couldn’t question the merit of the story. However, just because he doesn’t believe reality, or is not up-to-date on current affairs, does not mean he can go around calling other people naive and beholden to ideology.

      The National Socialist Worker’s Party of Germany could have easily pointed out that, despite their rough tactics against some of Germany’s citizens, they were not a despotic government in central Africa. Moral relativism is the most heinous of all intellectual crimes. This is why I keep Jacques so close.

  8. Brandon keeps wanting to change the subject. I hope it’s because he is finally embarrassed. My opinions about the Iraq war (of choice) and WMDs are easy to find on my own blog at factsmatter.wordpress.com. Don’t let those distract you now.

    The subject of the current exchange is whether Fred Folvary, Brandon himself and, according to Brandon, thousands of libertarians, were taken for a ride on the New Mexico police abuse story.

    I gave several reasons why the police rape/colonoscopy did not take place. Here is yet another: The New Mexico police were supposedly looking for drugs hidden in the victim’s gut. Anyone whom has the capacity to force a dangerous, intrusive colonoscopy on a person certainly has the power to administer a strong laxative. Two pills, sit him on bucket and wait a couple of hours!

    This is an important story because it shows anew the gullibility of otherwise intelligent people blinded by ideological zeal. When the zealots have real power, tragedies often follow s from this gullibility. Think of the second half of the 20th century.

    • I gave several reasons why the police rape/colonoscopy did not take place.

      No you didn’t. You gave excuses for the police officers’ tactics. The rapes (plural) have been well-documented. Hence the lawsuits. Your imagination, while great, is probably not the best defender of the police state.

      And you have no place to write of gullibility, given your position on the Iraq war.

    • “Anyone whom has the capacity to force a dangerous, intrusive colonoscopy on a person certainly has the power to administer a strong laxative. Two pills, sit him on bucket and wait a couple of hours!”

      Well, if you believe the fabricated-material-that’s-part-of-the-hoax, they did that and much more…

      “KOB4 summarizes the incredible content of the Gila medical records, as they pertained to procedures conducted without Eckert’s consent thereafter…
      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.”

      However I cannot vouch for the veracity of these alleged medical records. They could be part of the hoax produced by un-named persons for unknown reasons.

  9. Brandon: The existence of WMDs in Iraq was very “well documented”. Almost all the intelligence services of the western world believed they existed. That included the French even though France was openly, actively, vocally opposed to intervention in Iraq. YET, SADDAM HUSSEIN’S WMDs DID NOT EXIST. “Well documented” does not mean much if anything. (Man-made global warming that will destroy several countries is “well documented.”) I have given practical reasons why the rape/colonoscopies in Fred’s story could not have taken place. Why not try to respond to those objections instead of changing the subject again and again?

    • Good, we are getting somewhere.

      The existence of WMDs in Iraq was very “well documented”. Almost all the intelligence services of the western world believed they existed. That included the French even though France was openly, actively, vocally opposed to intervention in Iraq. YET, SADDAM HUSSEIN’S WMDs DID NOT EXIST. “Well documented” does not mean much if anything.

      So you admit that you were played by George W Bush and his merry band of murderers, correct? You were played like a fiddle. Is this an accurate assessment?

      As for the rape of another victim of the drug war, I’ll side with the medical records now being circulated throughout the legal blogosphere (thanks Terry!).

    • Addendum: Jacques writes that this whole episode – libertarians attacking the police state – is “absurd.” There is nothing absurd about it. Everything Fred documented in his post is true. Again, the fact that more people aren’t outraged about this is probably one of the reasons for Fred’s post in the first place.

      The police in this country are scum. They are unionized and are not to be trusted, especially with the advent of the war on terror. Combine that war with the war on drugs and we have ourselves a huge problem. Ignoring it, or attempting to marginalize debate about it – as Jacques has done – is akin to the Germans that didn’t belong to the National Socialist Worker’s Party (I’ve got a great post on this, by the way: “What was the world’s reaction to Kristallnacht?“).

      Suppose it was a hoax. Suppose Jacques were completely right about Fred and I getting “played.” He fears that the bitterness such a tall tale would exude among the general populace would be bad for constitutional government. It’s a legitimate fear.

      And yet, he admits to being played by the Bush administration on the issue of the Iraq war. Many people voiced resistance to the idea of WMDs in Iraq, including the UN’s weapons inspectors. Yet Jacques chose to believe the administration’s hoax and (and) he still believes the administration’s actions were just, even after it has turned out that the reasons for going to war in Iraq were a hoax. Is this not the epitome of ideological zeal?

      I am getting ahead of myself, of course. Jacques fears that hoaxes erode the viability of constitutional government, so he takes Fred and I to task for picking up an issue that we believe should have more importance: the rape of an innocent individual by police forces in the name of the law. If this were a hoax (and it’s not, I repeat, not a hoax), would the damage to constitutional government really be more severe for defending the rights of a non-existent individual than for, say, illegally invading and occupying a foreign country?

      Is the “bitterness” generated against a government by a hoax for raping an individual really more threatening to the rule of law than the bitterness generated against a government (and an entire people) by a hoax for illegally invading and occupying a foreign country?

      There is definitely something absurd afoot in this conversation, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the legal cases pending against various jurisdictions for the conduct of the police agencies and everything to do Jacques’s ideologically-driven hypocrisy.

    • At the risk of derailing the conversation…..what do you expect when the administration and senior members of the House & Senate are presiding over MASSIVE electronic surveillance of the citizenry. I will grant you that having my email monitored [and read when when communicating with an overseas co-author] is not in the same ballpark as the police thuggery described above. But the scale is just…..massive.

    • Thanks Terry. From what I’ve gathered, the $1.6 million is a settlement with the the city and county governments, but the victim still has lawsuits pending against the DA, two (two!) doctors and the hospital where the rape occurred.

      There is another lawsuit, filed by a different individual, against the same government institutions for the same crime, but for whatever reason it has not garnered the same amount of press (if I remember correctly, this other lawsuit is being filed by a known “junkie,” and that for some reason this factoid makes it less credible in the eyes of the public; if this is true, then I can safely argue that the drug war is the worst crime perpetrated by government since the ethnic cleansing campaigns of the late nineteenth century).

Leave a Reply to Brandon Christensen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s