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A known system of abuse: That’s what attorneys claim in federal lawsuit filed against MPD

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There are new allegations in the strip search scandal involving the Milwaukee Police Department. Some are saying it wasn't just a few rogue officers -- but instead, a system of abuse involving dozens of victims with one thing in common. This, as a federal lawsuit is filed against MPD.

On Monday, July 7th, attorneys briefed the media on the lawsuit -- distributing a large stack of documents they say show a pattern of illegal strip searches involving Milwaukee police officers.

In a federal civil brief, attorneys claim 62 of these strip searches occurred between 2007 and 2012.

The attorneys say the victims are all African-American, and the officers are all white.

Attorney Flint Taylor calls the documents part of a potentially crippling pattern for the city of Milwaukee.

"Not once, not twice -- but over a period of years," Flint said.

The federal lawsuit alleges the Milwaukee Police Department and its chain of command knew about and are responsible for dozens of illegal searches or body cavity searches over about a four-year span.

That includes some of the 2012 criminal allegations filed against four Milwaukee police officers.

Three took plea deals -- and the fourth, Michael Vagnini, was sentenced to more than two years in prison.

All four have resigned from MPD.

Attorney Robin Shellow alleges up to an additional eight officers were involved -- directly or indirectly, and says there could be more victims.

"Let us not kid ourselves. There could be other complaints out there, who just didn't feel safe going to the police -- so there could be others with a story about the Milwaukee Police Department," attorney Robin Shellow said.

The federal brief accused Vagnini of performing more than two dozen illegal searches -- some that police looked into, and some that were dismissed. Some of these cases the attorneys claim the department ignored -- establishing what they describe as a pattern of illegal search acceptance.

"Those officers could not and would not have done this if it was not allowed to happen," Shellow said.

When asked for comment on this lawsuit being filed, MPD said they do not comment on pending litigation.


  • diane

    Lets segregate communities..that works you mean there aren’t african american people in Waukesha. ..well hello wake up call there are. ..and Hispanics and orientals..and so on

  • Bill Watts

    The poor drug dealers are the victims. Now, no crying when we have 8 shootings tomorrow night! You want it Triplea… You got it baby!!!

  • rob

    So u believe the drug dealers from the ghetto. This is a money grab that is a waist of time and money. These victim s are thug dealer s from the hood. They will get got before they get paid.

  • 2econd

    so with line of thinking, we should make a bunch of ghetto thugs cops for the hood? what your also saying is that there should be only black cops in the hood, but yet if that was done you would blame mpd for racism, just cant make you happy now can we.

  • triplea

    So supposing someone may be guilty of an infraction of a law you people are suggesting molesting persons is ok? This is why problems never get solved, way too many deviants interpret and impose law in this place. They get away with it because deviants like that make comments like those above condone this behavior. What a sick group of people you are. And you wonder why your church suffers from this despicable act of incivility. The followers are to eager, for whatever reason, to turn the other cheek. SHAMEFUL.

  • WHAT!

    The cops should counter sue the ghetto. They want protection but won’t turn anybody in, it’s your own fault when they have to go find them, when the adrenailine is going strong mistakes happen.

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