Lawsuit: police and doctors at UMC El Paso forced innocent woman to endure multiple warrantless cavity searches

A 54-year old American woman was given increasingly invasive and fruitless cavity searches after a drug dog was instructed to "alert" in front of her by U.S. border guards. The victim, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, was then ordered to consume laxatives, endure x-rays and other scans, and subjected to further medical rectal and vaginal probes—all conducted by doctors at University Medical Center El Paso over over her protests and without any form of warrant.

"After the CT scan," the complaint says, "a CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] agent presented Ms. Doe with a choice: she could either sign a medical consent form, despite the fact that she had not consented, in which case CBP would pay for the cost of the searches; or if she refused to sign the consent form, she would be billed for the cost of the searches." She refused, and later the hospital sent her a bill for $5,000, apparently the going rate for sexual assault and gratuitous radiological bombardment.

The forced internal examinations are the most appalling aspect of the ordeal, but let's not forget the dog trick. Police train drug dogs to "activate" with subtle commands because it generates probable cause where there is none. As the Supreme Court has ruled that these dog-initiated searches are constitutional, it's up to a defendant to demonstrate that the dog was improperly trained.

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