John Doe investigation launched into Milwaukee police strip searches

CREATED Mar 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Mar 27, 2012

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MILWAUKEE- The Milwaukee County district attorney's office has launched a John Doe investigation into the alleged illegal strip searches by MPD officers in District 5.

If any of the officers are charged and convicted, it could have a big impact on hundreds of other cases.

TODAY'S TMJ4's heard from multiple alleged victims.

Chief Flynn promised to get the bottom of the allegations.

The investigation of seven MPD officers and a sergeant accused doing illegal body cavity searches in the streets is far from over.

Stan Stojkovic, Dean of UWM's School of Social Welfare says John Doe cases are normally equated to political corruption. He believes for the district attorney to open such a secret investigation means the allegations are deeper and may be too big for one department.
 
"The case involves multiple perpetrators, and offenders and potentially could reach very high," said Stojkovic.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there's no indication of a federal probe, but we know the allegations include a violation of civil rights.  Stojkovic says if proven true, the feds could get involved at the same time the county is doing it's own John Doe investigation.

"I think the U.S. Attorney is stepping back saying if there's evidence of civil rights violation we're going to step into the frame," said Stojkovic.

"....We normally give them the first shot at it and monitor the situation to see how it turns out," said Asst. U.S Attorney Mel Johnson.  "If the result appears to be a reasonable one, we normally leave it at that but, if the result is unreasonable, we might then try to see if federal involvement might be beneficial."

Stojkovic believes if the investigations find the officers performed the illegal searches, it will call into question the cases where those officers got convictions.

Stojkovic told TODAY'S TMJ4, "You obtained this evidence illegally, if that's the case it opens up even a more complex response by..those who were convicted."

While MPD and the district attorney plan to investigate the officers, they are off the streets, re-assigned pending the outcome of the investigations.