A second lawsuit was filed Friday against southern New Mexico authorities accused of illegally subjecting drug suspects to invasive body cavity searches. And the attorney who filed the cases says she has been getting calls from others saying they were detained after the uncertified drug-sniffing dog at the heart of both cases raised suspicions.
Albuquerque civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy filed the new lawsuit against the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of Timothy Young, who says he was strip-searched in a gas station parking lot, then taken to the hospital for a cavity search. The lawsuit claims the searches were unreasonable, and that the body cavity search was in violation of the search warrant issued. Kennedy says the warrant was issued to search his body but not body cavities.
The sheriff of the border county could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kennedy has also filed suit against the sheriff’s office and police in Deming on behalf of a southern New Mexico man who was taken to two hospitals and forced to have anal probes, three enemas, two body X-rays and a colonoscopy following a traffic stop.
The lawsuits have raised questions about drug searches along the border. In addition to the two cases filed by Kennedy, the American Civil Liberties Union says it is preparing to sue U.S. Customs and Border Protection on behalf of a woman who was crossing into El Paso in December and subjected to invasive searches after a drug dog alerted agents.
Attorney Laura Schauer Ives says the woman was strip-searched, vaginally probed then taken to the hospital for more invasive tests, a forced bowel movement, X-rays and scans. No drugs were found, the ACLU said. Schauer Ives said the woman’s medical records refer to her being brought in both by Border Patrol and customs agents. The group has had a Freedom of Information Request pending since April to identify the officers and which departments of CBP were involved.
Every immigration reform proposal offered by anyone includes measures for increased border security. Mexicans are not the only victims of ‘border security’, although they are more frequently fatal victims, and more frequently abused than US citizens.