Milwaukee police accused of performing illegal body cavity searches
By Elizabeth Chuck, msnbc.com
Seven officers and a supervisor at the Milwaukee police department have had their badges taken away after allegations surfaced that police have been conducting body cavity searches on suspects with no authority to do so.
Reports of officers arresting suspects then subjecting them to cavity searches first surfaced in local media in March. On Monday, after getting access to a police report, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that officers allegedly performed these searches on a routine basis.
One Milwaukee officer, Michael Vagnini, "had a reputation" for forcing suspects he believed had drugs in their body cavities to bend over for him, said defense attorney Alex Cossi, who handled a July 2011 case that alleges Vagnini searched his client and another suspect in the booking room.
"This was not a rogue happenstance. This was a tacit acceptance of strip searches without proper procedures or supervision," Cossi told The Journal Sentinel.
Vagnini found suspected cocaine "between (their) butt cheeks," the police report said.
Strip searches, which Wisconsin state law defines as searching "a detained person's genitals, pubic area, buttock or anus, or a detained female person's breast," can only be performed by a doctor, physician's assistant or registered nurse. The state law requires written permission before a strip search is conducted, unless there's probable cause to believe the suspect is hiding a weapon.
Cossi said his client was not provided with written documents before Vagnini performed the cavity search, which is a strip search involving penetration, on him. Because improper tactics were used to find the cocaine, the drug dealing charge against Cossi's client was thrown out, The Journal Sentinel reported.
It's not clear how many allegations of cavity searches the Police Department is facing....
You do realize that this case has nothing whatsoever to do with the Supreme court decision, which was restricted to a case where the strip search is legally authorized and normal procedure, don't you?