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Milwaukee cop will face separate trial for alleged illegal strip searches

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MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A Milwaukee police officer accused of illegally strip-searching criminal suspects will be tried separately from three similar defendants charged to a much smaller extent.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner agreed Tuesday morning to have officer Michael Vagnini’s case considered separately from those of Jacob Knight, Brian Kozolek, and Jeffrey Dollhopf.

Vagnini is charged with 25 counts of illegal strip searches, sexual assault, and misconduct in public office. The other officers are charged with a combined 8 counts of strip searches and misconduct.

Prosecutors said the three were merely present in most of the instances in which Vagnini checked suspects’ cavities for illegal drugs.

Prosecutors said that in one case, two officers held a suspect’s arms while another held a gun to the man’s head – and another officer put on a choke hold while searching a man’s buttocks for evidence.

Vagnini is scheduled to go on trial April 29th, unless there’s a plea deal before then. The other three defendants are now set for trials on June 3rd.

Judge Wagner will hear pre-trial requests on February 20th. 

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