MILWAUKEE — Seven officers and one supervisor remain off the streets as the Milwaukee Police Department tries to learn if they conducted illegal strip searches. One victim’s family tells FOX6 News Milwaukee police officers conducted body cavity searches in the middle of the street – an act that is against the law.
In a scheduled news conference Thursday, March 23rd, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn revealed why seven of his officers, and one supervisor were reassigned. Flynn said the department is investigating reports of these officers conducting illegal body cavity searches. “There are things you can do that comes close to a body cavity search, but aren’t and there are things you cannot do, and there are lines,” Flynn said.
A family member of a Milwaukee man who has filed a complaint told FOX6 News his nephew was searched in the middle of the street, and an officer used his finger to perform a body cavity search.
According to the police department, an officer is allowed to perform a strip search when they have written permission from the chief, and have probable cause to believe the detained person is concealing a weapon. These types of searches are not allowed to take place in front of the eyes of anyone not conducting the search.
Under the department’s policy and state law, cavity searches may only be performed by physicians, physician’s assistants or nurses.
If an officer is found to have conducted an illegal strip search, they could face up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. It’s unclear how many complaints MPD is looking into.
The Milwaukee Police Association and Chief Flynn are asking those in the community to reserve judgement until all the facts are revealed. “We don’t want the community to rush to judgement on something that may not exist,” Mike Crivello with the Milwaukee Police Association said.