MILWAUKEE -- A secret John Doe investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by seven Milwaukee police officers and a police sergeant is now underway, a week after Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn pulled the officers and sergeant off the streets and assigned them to desk duty, citing an internal investigation.
In a press conference last Thursday, March 22nd, Chief Ed Flynn talked about the internal investigation into allegations the officers were involved illegal strip searches and cavity probes of individuals being detained for crimes. Now, it appears the Milwaukee County District Attorney may be looking into these claims.
Stan Stojkovic, the dean of the criminal justice program at UW-Milwaukee, says the allegations concern him, but he has praise for Chief Flynn for wanting to find the truth, and hopes a district attorney investigation would help do that. "My initial reaction, like most citizens, is 'whoa, this sounds like it's crossing the line,' but we don't have all the facts yet. There's a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Sometimes, being aggressive means you're crossing the line. Being an assertive police officer with a directed mission - gangs, drugs, narcotics, high weapons, those types of things. We can be assertive and still follow the law," Stojkovic said.
If the Milwaukee County District Attorney is conducting an investigation, it would be done to determine the extent of evidence and if there is reason for criminal charges. Reports indicate Milwaukee County Judge Jeffrey Wagner is overseeing the secret proceedings. In 2007, Judge Wagner sentenced another MPD officer to lengthy prison time after he was convicted of sexually assaulting women he was investigating on the job. At that time, Judge Wagner said no one is above the law.
It's fairly rare that the D.A.'s Office start investigating criminal charges while an internal investigation is taking place within the police department. There could still be a federal investigation into civil rights violations.