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Closing arguments in Milwaukee illegal strip search trial

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Attorneys are expected to make their closing arguments Thursday in the trial of three Milwaukee police officers accused of violating a suspect's civil rights by strip searching him.

Michael Gasser, Michael Valuch Jr., and Keith Garland Jr. testified Wednesday that their actions were appropriate. They said they patted down 40-year-old Leo Hardy to look for weapons and illegal drugs -- but the officers denied allegations that they pulled down his pants and grabbed his private area.

Garland admitted running what he called a "bladed hand" between Hardy's buttocks, but he said it was over the man's clothing.

Hardy was stopped because officers were looking for a person who was often seen with him. He's among 60 people who claim they were subject to improper strip searches in Milwaukee from 2008 through 2012.

Four former officers have been convicted in those cases.

The police chief or a supervisor must consent to the searches unless a weapon is suspected of being hidden. Cavity searches can only be done by medical personnel.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)