Could more MPD officers be charged with illegal strip searches?
MILWAUKEE -- Attorney Jonathan Safran is representing some of the victims who say they've been the victims of illegal cavity searches performed by Milwaukee police officers. He says there are at least a half-dozen other officers not yet charged -- officers who have been named by his clients as some who've participated in illegal strip searches.
Charges were filed Tuesday, October 9th against four MPD officers.
Officer Michael Vagnini faces 25 counts of violating the strip search law, misconduct in public office and second-degree sexual assault. If convicted of these crimes, Vagnini faces up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Officer Jeffrey Dollhopf faces two counts of violating the strip search law and two counts of misconduct in public office.
Officers Brian Kozelek and Jacob Knight each face one count of violating the strip search law and one count of misconduct in public office.
CLICK HERE to read the entire criminal complaint. WARNING: the content described in the complaint is graphic and not suitable for all readers.
"I'm afraid this is the tip of the iceberg," Safran said.
However, Safran says having four officers charged brings some of the victims closer to justice.
"I know my clients are happy. This is something they've been living with for a long period of time. It's a sad chapter for the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Police Department," Safran said.
Safran said the charges are also important for the community -- so everyone knows their civil rights cannot be violated without repercussions. He hopes for a federal investigation into what he believes is a pattern of violations by Milwaukee police officers.
"Well aware of other victims. We're well aware of other police officers and much more widespread (violations) in the department," Safran said.
The criminal charges are only part of the equation for the victims. Some of Safran's clients have filed notices of injury with the city of Milwaukee. That's the first step in a civil suit for money.
The victims were not in court for Tuesday's charging. Many have had their criminal cases dismissed because no matter if some were guilty or concealing drugs, the illegal searches were cause enough to have them walk from charges themselves.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Tuesday now that the officers have been charged and the Milwaukee County District Attorney's investigation has concluded, an internal MPD investigation will begin.
CLICK HERE for more stories on the alleged illegal strip searches conducted by MPD officers.