Tag Archives: strip searches

Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Signs Law Granting Authorities Broader Strip Search Powers

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill on March 1 which expands the circumstances in which police and correctional officers can conduct strip searches on detainees and inmates suspected of misdemeanor and other minor crimes.

Previously, individuals detained or jailed on non-felony crimes could only be strip searched if they were to be held among other people for at least a 12-hour period. The Associated Press notes that Walker’s new law removes that 12-hour minimum time requirement.

[RELATED: Walker Calls Building U.S.-Canada Border Wall To Stop Terrorists ‘Legitimate Issue’]

The Associated Press also reported that Republican supporters of the bill argued that allowing law enforcement and corrections authorities to strip search anyone who will be detained or incarcerated among others will lead to safer jails and will help protect officers. Democratic opponents countered that the bill could result in civil rights abuses.

Unfortunately, strip searches are extremely uncomfortable, there’s no question. But for the family of an inmate or an officer who gets killed by the shank that was hidden and not found because no strip search was performed, they’re going to go through much more discomfort than the strip search,” argued bill author Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) according to The Capital Times.

Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), a critic of the law, said that the 12-hour requirement had originally been put in place to prevent people who are jailed or detained briefly for civil violations like non-payment of a fine from being strip searched.

[RELATED: Governor Scott Walker Calls for Full Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act]

The signing of the new law comes on the heels of the Milwaukee Common Council’s January approval of the payment of a $5 million settlement to 74 African-American residents who raised allegations that they were forced by police to submit to illegal body cavity and strip searches during a drug investigation.

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Third Victim Found: Cops Strip Woman & Conduct Vaginal Cavity Search To Find Non-Existent Drugs

As we reported last week, police in New Mexico forced enemas and anal cavity searches on two men. The officers used expired and nonexistent warrants to “justify” the invasive searches. They were searching for drugs, but found nothing in both instances.

Now a third  person claims they were sexually abused by police in a similar manner — this time a woman. Again, cops were searching for drugs but found nothing.

When officers in El Paso, Texas pulled over the woman, who remains unnamed, a drug-sniffing dog indicated she had drugs on her. Cops responded by stripping the woman and then forcing her to undergo a cavity search, which included officers sticking their fingers into her vagina.

The woman’s lawyer, Laura Schaur Ives of the New Mexico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said police had no warrant to do this.

No drugs were found on the woman during the on-site search — but that wasn’t good enough for the officers.

They subsequently took the woman to University Medical Center of El Paso, where she was X-rayed and given another full body search. After probing both her anus and vagina, medical personal found no drugs either.

Schaur said, “First, medical staff observed her making a bowel movement and no drugs were found at that point. They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual–two handed. Finally, they did a cat scan. Again, they found nothing… Her medical records indicate that she refused consent.”

In my last article, I mentioned a common link between the two men searched in New Mexico: the same drug-sniffing dog named Leo was used both times.

However, this new case suggests that warrantless, invasive searches cannot be linked to one dog or even one area. Schaur’s client was searched by Customs and Border Control officers.

In all three cases, those searched for non-existent drugs were victims. Against their will, all three were stripped, probed, and embarrassed.

Three victims are too many — this madness must end. The big question, then, is how do we prevent future incidents of this kind?