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STRIP-SEARCHES Chief: Reopen Internal Affairs case



Published: Thu, May 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The investigation should be completed in about two weeks.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city's police chief has ordered that another internal affairs case regarding strip-searches be reopened.

The case of Adam Carson has been assigned by Police Chief John Mandopoulos to Capt. Tim Roberts.

Last month, the chief also ordered Roberts to reopen the strip-search case of Dominic Gambone.

Roberts said he hopes to have both cases finished in about two weeks.

Both Gambone and Carson stated they were strip-searched in 2002. The two filed civil cases and reached out-of-court settlements.

No officers were ever disciplined.

Gambone was the first person to file a complaint, in 2003.

Lt. Joseph Marhulik, who investigated the complaint, agreed with Gambone, saying the search was against policy and against the law. The police chief changed the policy on strip-searches but exonerated the officers involved.

Mandopoulos refused to answer questions about the cases.

Law Director Greg Hicks and Doug Franklin, safety-service director, both said they do not know why the cases were reopened.

The chief ordered the cases to be reopened a few days after U.S. Justice Department officials left town. Those who spoke to the officials said they were asked questions about the strip-searches.

The Justice Department has also asked for copies of all the internal investigations.

Three other cases

There were three others, LaShawn Ziegler, Clarence Clay and Brandon Rogers, who filed federal civil lawsuits alleging they were illegally strip-searched. All three reached out-of-court settlements.

Franklin said the chief is also reviewing the other three strip-search cases.

"It's my position that all the cases should be looked at by the police department," Hicks said. "Anytime that something of that nature comes to my attention I would want it looked at. I don't think it hurts anything to review all the cases."

In February, Atty. John Gibbons, who was hired by Hicks to determine whether any officer involved in the strip-searches should be criminally charged, announced that he believes laws were broken but that the statute of limitations had expired, making prosecution impossible.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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