Warren police chief reopens strip searches investigation

WARREN, Ohio - The city's police chief said Warren will take another look at possible wrongdoing of police officers who performed strip searches.

Chief John Mandopoulos said he decided to reopen the investigation after examining the findings of an independent investigation by Cleveland attorney John Gibbon, who said the officers involved broke the law and probably should have faced misdemeanor charges.

"Based upon what the outside lawyer said, we are taking a second look at it," Mandopoulos said. "We want to make sure we're doing the right thing."

The chief said the officers involved have been notified. The chief has said that he doesn't believe his officers had any criminal intent while performing the searches.

Strip search complaints leveled against the department forced the city to pay more than $100,000 to settle civil suits.

One officer acknowledged in 2003 that he routinely conducted body-cavity searches and strip searches on male suspects even in minor crimes, according to the internal police investigation in a strip search of Dominic Gambone, 27, in February 2002.

The police chief changed the policy on strip searches but exonerated the officers involved. The officers were never disciplined. Gambone sued and settled for about $75,000.

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