Milwaukee Police Association to file suit against city after 3 instances of weapons firing on their own
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Police Association plans to move forward with a lawsuit against the city after another officer's gun went off even though the trigger was not pulled.
The most recent incident happened on Saturday when an officer's gun discharged by itself while still in the holster, injuring another officer who was standing nearby. That officer is expected to be ok.
After a service weapon unintentionally went off in 2020, the Milwaukee Police Association filed notice of a lawsuit. But the union says nothing was done. Then days ago another officer was unintentionally shot.
The MPA believes the city knows about the flaws and continues to ignore officers' safety concerns.
The city says the mayor and police chief will discuss it this week.
Andrew Wagner, the president of the Milwaukee Police Association, said, "To not have trust in that tool, really brings fear into our officers."
That tool is the Sig Sauer P320, the service weapon worn by more than 1,600 MPD officers, but one now responsible for three unintended shootings.
Wagner says they're lucky no one has been fatally injured yet. "We've received dozens of phone calls from our officers today, concerned about their firearms discharging."
Wagner says concerns with the P320 are well documented. He says internal MPD memos cite the safety issues, and the department asked for them to be replaced.
But the notice of claim says "neither the city nor the department has done anything to correct or address these known deficiencies."
Wagner said, "We're hoping both the city and the department look at this and recognize it's a big safety issue for our officers and our community, and are willing to change."
Mayor Cavalier Johnson's office issued a statement that read, "The safety of Milwaukee police officers is an extremely high priority for the Mayor. The first time the Mayor was aware of concerns regarding the firearms in question was after the most recent unintended discharge. The Mayor anticipates further discussions on the topic – including at a scheduled meeting later this week with the police Chief."
Wagner says Milwaukee is not the only community concerned with unintentional firings. He said, "Besides our incidents, there are dozens upon dozens throughout the country that had the same misfirings that we did."
Last year a police lieutenant outside Boston sued Sig Sauer and his city over unintentional shootings with the very same model. That lawsuit claimed despite Sig Sauer marketing the "P320 won't fire unless you want it to," there have been 52 reports of unintended firings since the model was introduced in North America.
Wagner says other jurisdictions let officers choose between certain models, but Milwaukee officers don't have a choice: the city chooses the on-duty handguns.
But he's hoping for a change before they have to move forward with a lawsuit. "We just want to make sure the gun our officers carry is safe for them and is safe for our community."
Messages to the Milwaukee city attorney were not answered.