MILWAUKEE (CN) – A man who was arrested after a traffic stop led a cop to find a baggie of cocaine in his anus has settled excessive-force claims for $95,500.
Joe Bohannon is one of several black men who brought civil claims after an investigation of illegal searches in the Milwaukee police department led to criminal plea deals with several officers, including Michael Vagnini who was sentenced to a 26-month prison term on eight counts.
The complaint Bohannon filed last year involves a 9 p.m. traffic stop in April 2008.
Bohannon claims that Vagnini and another officer pulled him over without probable cause, and had Bohannon stand up against the car.
There, in the public thoroughfare and still lacking probable cause, Vagnini “pulled plaintiff’s pants and underwear back, and … with no privacy, reached his hand inside the back of plaintiff’s pants, and shoved his finger inside plaintiff’s anus,” the complaint states.
Bohannon admits that, after Vagnini extracted a baggie of cocaine from Bohannon’s anus, Bohannon elbowed the cop in the jaw and tried to run away.
When Vagnini and other officers caught up to him, they allegedly punched and kicked him, and arrested him.
A Nov. 13, 2014, letter from city attorneys to the Milwaukee Common Council reveals that a federal judge set Bohannon’s case for trial after denying the city summary judgment.
“Although the defendants deny that any unlawful search was conducted, and deny other issues of alleged unconstitutional conduct, the parties agreed to engage in mediation, resulting in the proposed settlement which the city attorney recommends,” the letter states.
City attorney Grant Langley urged the council to approve a $95,500 settlement with Bohannon.
A similar case filed by a man named Edward Wright in October involves claims that Vagnini used plastic gloves to “reach inside Mr. Wright’s pants, grabbing and searching Mr. Wright’s genitalia.”
The city’s answer in the Wright case denies these allegations.
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