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Milwaukee Police Sued for Illegal Strip Searches

July 11, 2013  | 

Five men sued the Milwaukee Police Department, city, and police chief on Wednesday seeking unspecified damages for illegal rectal and strip searches, reports the Journal Sentinel.

The lawsuits follow a widespread criminal investigation into the searches that led to the conviction in July of Michael Vagnini. The former officer was sentenced to 26 months in prison after pleading no contest to four felonies and four misdemeanors.

The civil suit also names Vagnini, Officer Jacob Knight, Officer Michael Gasser, and Sgt. Jason Mucha. In October, the Milwaukee County District Attorney charged Vagnini, Knight, Officer Jeffrey Dollhopf, and Officer Brian Kozelek in the illegal searches.

Mucha, who supervised the officers, has since left the force. He and Gasser were cleared by internal affairs. In several of the cases, drugs were found on the subjects.

Wisconsin law doesn't allow officers to perform strip searches without first getting written permission from the police chief or a supervisor, unless the officer expects to find a weapon.


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