On Thursday, March 21, 2013, a motion hearing occurred regarding the four Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) officers who face charges of conducting illegal strip searches and illegal body cavity searches. During the hearing, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Miriam Falk told the court that the charges against the MPD officers are part of a larger pattern of misconduct. For example, MPD Officer Michael Vagnini regularly pulled over drivers under a pretense of not wearing a seat belt, and would then proceed to search for drugs without legal cause. Oftentimes, the searches by Officer Vagnini would involve illegal strip searches or illegal body cavity searches. MPD Chief Ed Flynn admitted that the MPD had received complaints about the illegal searches for two years before beginning an investigation. During the hearing the court also ruled against a motion by the MPD officers to move their trial out of Milwaukee County. Read more about the hearing and the charges against the MPD officers in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.

The Milwaukee civil rights attorneys of Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C. represent several victims of the allegedly illegal searches conducted by MPD officers, some who are named victims in the pending criminal cases and some who are not part of these cases. We have been reporting that these incidents have been going on for a number of years, involving more than just the four charged officers, and occurring beyond just the MPD’s 5th District, where the charged officers worked. We will continue to monitor these cases, attend hearings and trials, and do our best to see that there is justice and accountability for police officer misconduct, so that future civil rights violations can be prevented.