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Man Claims Abusive|Cops Planted Drugs

MILWAUKEE (CN) - A crooked cop groped a paraplegic man's genitals under his diaper and falsely claimed to have found drugs there - and was sentenced to prison for such assaults, the man claims in court.

Carlando Mukes sued Milwaukee, its Police Chief Edward Flynn, and police Officers Jason Mucha, Michael Vagnini and Paul Martinez, in Federal Court.

In 2008, Mukes, a 32-year-old paraplegic black man, was sitting in his wheelchair talking to a friend, when defendants Vagnini and Martinez drove up and searched him, according to the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff raised his arms in the air and told defendants Vagnini and Martinez that he did not have anything on him," Mukes says in the complaint.

"Defendant Vagnini patted down plaintiff's pants pockets without plaintiff's consent, found approximately $50, and said, 'This is drug money.'

"Defendants Vagnini and Martinez each grabbed one of plaintiff's arms and defendant Martinez said, 'Maybe it's in his adult diaper.'

"Defendant Martinez, who had no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that plaintiff possessed drugs or contraband on or about his person, reached his hand inside plaintiff's adult diaper, and groped plaintiff's genitals.

"Plaintiff did not have any drugs or contraband in his adult diaper or anywhere on his person.

"Defendant Martinez is not a health care professional, and he conducted the invasive and unreasonable search in an unsafe, unhygienic, and intentionally humiliating fashion, in a public thoroughfare, with no privacy."

Martinez then showed a bag of cocaine and claimed it was Mukes's, according to the complaint.

"When plaintiff insisted that the drugs were not his, defendant Vagnini hit plaintiff in the forehead with his flashlight, and defendants Vagnini and Martinez dumped plaintiff out of his wheelchair onto the ground," the complaint states.

Mukes claims he lay on the ground for 10 minutes in the rain until the officers picked him up and threw him onto the floor of the police car, and took him to the hospital.

Four years later, according to the complaint: "the Milwaukee District Attorney's Office conducted a secret investigation into allegations of illegal body cavity and strip searches by Milwaukee police officers, during which they interviewed, and reviewed statements of, dozens of victims and witnesses.

"In October of 2012, the State of Wisconsin charged defendant Vagnini and three other Milwaukee police officers with multiple felonies and misdemeanors related to illegal body cavity and strip searches of Milwaukee citizens.

"Defendant Vagnini was charged with two counts of illegal cavity searches, eight counts of illegal strip searches, four counts of second degree sexual assault, one count of third degree sexual assault, two counts of fourth degree sexual assault, ten counts of misconduct in public office, and one count of false imprisonment.

"In April of 2013, defendant Vagnini negotiated a plea in which the seven felony sexual assault charges were dismissed, and he pleaded no contest to four felony charges of misconduct in public office and four misdemeanor charges of conducting illegal strip and body cavity searches of African American men.

"In June of 2013, defendant Vagnini was sentenced to 26 months in prison and 34 months of extended supervision."

Mukes seeks damages for unreasonable search, excessive force, false arrest, failure to intervene and conspiracy.

He is represented by Ben Elson with the People's Law Office in Chicago.

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