Innocent man billed for police rectal probe


The St Joseph's Hospital Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The St Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, New York

A US man wrongly suspected of hiding drugs in his colon was reportedly given a rectal probe - and billed for the unwanted examination.

Torrence Jackson said he refused consent for the invasive procedure, and suffered internal injuries as a result.

According to the Post-Standard, doctors in Syracuse, upstate New York, refused to carry out the examination until police obtained a warrant.

The hospital sent Mr Jackson, 42, a bill for $4,595.12 (£3,600).

He was stopped in his car by police after failing to signal, police say.

Officers found a bag of marijuana and cocaine residue in Mr Jackson's vehicle, reports the Post-Standard.

The incident happened on 16 October 2017, but has only been pieced together after a review by the newspaper of police, court and medical documents.

Police officer Anthony Fiorini said Mr Jackson's posture in the car was consistent with someone hiding drugs in his rectum.

One officer was reportedly injured in the ensuing struggle to arrest Mr Jackson, who has a lengthy criminal record, according to the newspaper.

Police also said Mr Jackson had taunted them about having drugs concealed on his person, which he denies, reports the Post-Standard.

He was taken to St Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse where an X-ray found no foreign objects in his body.

Police obtained a court warrant to perform a sigmoidoscopy, using a flexible 8in (20cm) tube.

Doctors initially refused to perform the procedure, until advised by a hospital lawyer that Mr Jackson did not have a legal right to refuse.

He was forcibly sedated for the examination.

After the procedure found no drugs, Mr Jackson was released and said he only learned what doctors had done when he found blood in his underwear.

"I felt tampered with," he told the newspaper.

Upon release, the hospital had a debt collectors' agency pursue Mr Jackson for the medical bill.

He refused to pay, and the matter was ultimately dropped.

In a statement to the Post-Standard, the hospital said its officials "comply with court orders whenever they are issued for detainees who come to our hospital in police custody".

Neither Syracuse police nor St Joseph's hospital immediately responded to a BBC request for comment.