Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity
Searches and Colonoscopies
By John W.
Amendment was designed to stand between us and
arbitrary governmental authority. For all
that shield has been shattered,
leaving our liberty and personal integrity
subject to the whim of every cop on the beat,
trooper on the highway and jail
September 07, 2017 "Information
- Our freedoms—especially the Fourth
Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing
view among government bureaucrats that they have
the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot,
spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual
at any time and for the slightest provocation.
cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced
blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced
DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced
inclusion in biometric databases: these are just
a few ways in which Americans are being forced
to accept that we have no control over our
bodies, our lives and our property, especially
when it comes to interactions with the
on a daily basis, Americans are being made to
relinquish the most intimate details of who we
are—our biological makeup, our genetic
blueprints, and our biometrics (facial
characteristics and structure, fingerprints,
iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly
insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines
life in the United States: we are now
guilty until proven innocent.
life in America today that individuals are being
threatened with arrest and carted off to jail
for the least hint of noncompliance, homes are
being raided by police under the slightest
pretext, property is being seized on the
slightest hint of suspicious activity, and
roadside police stops have devolved into
government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation
and degradation with a complete disregard for
privacy and human dignity.
Consider, for example, what happened to Utah
nurse Alex Wubbels after a police detective
demanded to take blood from a badly injured,
unconscious patient without a warrant.
Wubbels refused, citing hospital policy that
requires police to either have a warrant or
permission from the patient in order to draw
blood. The detective had neither. Irate, the
detective threatened to have Wubbels arrested if
she didn’t comply. Backed up by her supervisors,
Wubbels respectfully stood her ground only to be
roughly grabbed, shoved out of the hospital,
handcuffed and forced into an unmarked car
while hospital police looked on and failed to
intervene (take a look at the police
which has gone viral, and see for yourself).
Michael Chorosky didn’t have an advocate like
Wubbels to stand guard over his Fourth Amendment
rights. Chorosky was surrounded by police,
strapped to a gurney and then
had his blood forcibly drawn after refusing to
submit to a breathalyzer test.
“What country is this? What country is this?”
cried Chorosky during the forced blood draw.
country is this indeed?
Unfortunately, forced blood draws are just the
tip of the iceberg when it comes to the
indignities and abuses being heaped on Americans
in the so-called name of “national security.”
cavity searches, forced colonoscopies and forced
roadside strip searches are also becoming par
for the course in an age in which police are
taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s
bodily integrity whether or not a person has
done anything wrong.
For example, 21-year-old Charnesia Corley was
allegedly being pulled over by Texas police in
“rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they
smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley,
placed her in the back of the police cruiser,
and then searched her car for almost an hour. No
drugs were found in the car.
As the Houston Chronicle
to his car where Corley was held, the deputy
again said he smelled marijuana and called in a
female deputy to conduct a cavity search. When
the female deputy arrived, she told Corley to
pull her pants down, but Corley protested
because she was cuffed and had no underwear on.
The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, pulled
down her pants and began to search her.
Then…Corley stood up and protested, so the
deputy threw her to the ground and restrained
her while another female was called in to
assist. When backup arrived, each deputy held
one of Corley’s legs apart to conduct the probe.
The cavity search lasted 11 minutes. This
practice is referred to as “rape
Although Corley was
charged with resisting arrest and with
possession of 0.2 grams of marijuana,
those charges were subsequently dropped.
David Eckert was forced to undergo
an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a
after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign
at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the
searches on the grounds that they suspected
Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture
[was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No
drugs were found.
During a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino
was subjected to two roadside strip searches in
plain view of passing traffic, while her two
children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car.
During the second strip search, presumably in an
effort to ferret out drugs,
a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon
No contraband or anything illegal was found.
Thirty-eight-year-old Angel Dobbs and her
24-year-old niece, Ashley, were
pulled over by a Texas state trooper
on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking
cigarette butts out of the car window. Insisting
that he smelled marijuana, the trooper proceeded
to interrogate them and search the car. Despite
the fact that both women denied smoking or
possessing any marijuana, the police officer
then called in a female trooper, who carried out
a roadside cavity search,
sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus
and vagina, then performing the same procedure
on the younger woman,
wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana
Sixty-nine-year-old Gerald Dickson was
handcuffed and taken into custody (although not
arrested or charged with any crime) after giving
a ride to a neighbor’s son, whom police
suspected of being a drug dealer. Despite
Dickson’s insistence that the bulge under his
shirt was the result of a botched hernia
surgery, police ordered Dickson to “strip off
his clothes, bend over and expose all of his
private parts. No drugs or contraband were
Meanwhile, four Milwaukee police officers were
charged with carrying out rectal searches of
suspects on the street and in police district
stations over the course of several years. One
of the officers was accused of conducting
searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often
inserting his fingers into their rectums
and leaving some of his victims with bleeding
gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be
suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to
a strip search.
North Carolina public school allegedly
strip-searched a 10-year-old boy in search of a
$20 bill lost by another student,
despite the fact that the boy, J.C., twice told
school officials he did not have the missing
money. The assistant principal reportedly
ordered the fifth grader to disrobe down to his
underwear and subjected him to an aggressive
strip-search that included rimming the edge of
his underwear. The missing money was later found
in the school cafeteria.
Suspecting that Georgia Tech alum Mary Clayton
might have been attempting to smuggle a Chick-Fil-A
sandwich into the football stadium, a Georgia
Tech police officer allegedly
subjected the season ticket-holder to a strip
search that included a close examination of her
underwear and bra.
No contraband chicken was found.
these incidents show is that while forced
searches may span a broad spectrum of methods
and scenarios, the common denominator remains
the same: a complete disregard for the rights of
In fact, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s
Florence v. Burlison,
any person who is arrested and processed at a
jail house, regardless of the severity of his or
her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing
more than a minor traffic offense), can be
subjected to a strip search by police or jail
officials without reasonable suspicion that the
arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.
of minor infractions which have resulted in
strip searches include: individuals arrested for
driving with a noisy muffler, driving with an
inoperable headlight, failing to use a turn
signal, riding a bicycle without an audible
bell, making an improper left turn, and engaging
in an antiwar demonstration (the individual
searched was a nun, a Sister of Divine
Providence for 50 years).
have also carried out strip searches for passing
a bad check, dog leash violations, filing a
false police report, failing to produce a
driver’s license after making an illegal left
turn, having outstanding parking tickets, and
public intoxication. A failure to pay child
support can also result in a strip search.
technology advances, these searches are becoming
more invasive on a cellular level, as well.
For instance, close to 600 motorists leaving
Penn State University one Friday night were
stopped by police and, without their knowledge
or consent, subjected to a breathalyzer test
flashlights that can detect the presence of
alcohol on a person’s breath.
These passive alcohol sensors are being hailed
as a new weapon in the fight against DUIs.
(Those who refuse to knowingly submit to a
breathalyzer test are being subjected to forced
Thirty states presently allow police to do
forced blood draws on drivers
as part of a nationwide “No Refusal” initiative
funded by the federal government. Not even court
rulings declaring such practices to be
unconstitutional in the absence of a warrant
have slowed down the process. Now police simply
keep a magistrate on call to rubber stamp the
procedure over the phone.)
The National Highway Safety Administration, the
same government agency that funds the “No
Refusal” DUI checkpoints and
forcible blood draws,
is also funding
nationwide roadblocks aimed at getting drivers
to “voluntarily” provide police with DNA derived
from saliva and blood samples,
reportedly to study inebriation patterns. In at
least 28 states, there’s nothing voluntary about
one’s DNA collected by police
in instances where you’ve been arrested, whether
or not you’re actually convicted of a crime. All
of this DNA data is being fed to the federal
Airline passengers, already subjected to virtual
strip searches, are now being scrutinized even
more closely, with the Customs and Border
Protection agency tasking airport officials with
monitoring the bowel movements of passengers
suspected of ingesting drugs. They even have a
special hi-tech toilet designed to filter
through a person’s fecal waste.
Iris scans, an essential part of the U.S.
boots-on-the-ground approach to keeping track of
civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan,
are becoming a de facto method of building the
government’s already mammoth biometrics
database. Funded by the Dept. of Justice, along
with other federal agencies, the iris scan
technology is being incorporated into
police precincts, jails,
immigration checkpoints, airports and even
School officials—from elementary to college—have
begun using iris scans in place of traditional
ID cards. In
some parts of the country,
parents wanting to pick their kids up from
school have to
first submit to an iris scan.
As for those endless pictures everyone so
cheerfully uploads to
Facebook (which has the largest facial
recognition database in the world)
or anywhere else on the internet, they’re all
being accessed by the police, filtered with
facial recognition software,
uploaded into the government’s mammoth
and cross-checked against its criminal files.
With good reason, civil libertarians fear these
databases could “someday
be used for monitoring political rallies,
sporting events or even busy downtown areas.”
the Fourth Amendment was created to prevent
government officials from searching an
individual’s person or property without a
warrant and probable cause—evidence that some
kind of criminal activity was afoot—the founders
could scarcely have imagined a world in which we
needed protection against widespread government
breaches of our privacy, including on a cellular
that’s exactly what we are lacking and what we
so desperately need.
Unfortunately, the indignities being heaped upon
us by the architects and agents of the American
police state—whether or not we’ve done anything
wrong—are just a foretaste of what is to come.
As I make clear in my book
Battlefield America: The War on the American
the government doesn’t need to tie you to a
gurney and forcibly take your blood or strip you
naked by the side of the road in order to render
you helpless. It has other methods—less subtle
perhaps but equally humiliating, devastating and
mind-altering—of stripping you of your
independence, robbing you of your dignity, and
undermining your rights.
every court ruling that allows the government to
operate above the rule of law, every piece of
legislation that limits our freedoms, and every
act of government wrongdoing that goes
unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a
society in which we have little real control
over our bodies or our lives.
attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder
and president of The
His new book Battlefield
America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks,
2015) is available online at www.amazon.com.
Whitehead can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.