The Columbus, Ohio, police department announced earlier this month that it was suspending its vice unit for four weeks, after multiple incidents painted a picture of corruption among its ranks. Now, as that suspension period comes to its scheduled end, the investigation has been extended indefinitely, and handed off to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The vice unit had come under fire recently, after a whistleblower revealed the planned shakedown and arrest of Stormy Daniels during a July appearance at an adult club, and the fatal death of Donna Dalton (also known as Donna Castleberry) at the hands of 30-year CPD veteran Andrew Mitchell. He shot the alleged sex worker no less than eight times.
In a press conference announcing the 28-day suspension of the unit, CPD Chief Kim Jacobs insisted that bad cops “aren’t tolerated” in the Buckeye State’s capital. Deputy Chief Tim Becker, meanwhile, spent most of his time at the podium singing the praises of department members and citing the thousands of arrests they’ve made for “salacious” crimes like prostitution.
10TV reports that a department spokeswoman cites the results of the initial investigation as the impetus for FBI involvement.
(The) department says it made the request that the FBI get involved “as evidence has developed in investigations with the Columbus Police vice unit.”A police department spokeswoman tells 10 Investigates that the FBI’s inquiry is “bigger than one person.”
Bigger than one person or not, 10TV also reports that just one person—Andrew Mitchell—has also been relieved of his field duties as a direct result of the initial investigation.
…he remains on the force, according to a spokeswoman.
She said that his relief of duty was not solely related to the officer-involved shooting but involved a “culmination of things.”
The department has said that Mitchell was already under investigation for an alleged criminal offense when he was involved in the fatal shooting of Donna Castleberry.
The department and the FBI have declined to release details, but 10TV has reported that Mitchell, a veteran of the force, has been investigated by internal affairs several times.
The Columbus Dispatch further confirms that Mitchell was only relieved of his duties on Wednesday, more than a month after he killed Dalton. Mitchell, who was already the subject of an internal affairs investigation before the shooting, also saw his home searched by the FBI the same day.
In a press release posted to Facebook on Thursday, CPD also mentions that further allegations against the vice unit have surfaced on social media, and entreated the public to report any additional tips they might have to an FBI hotline created expressly for that purpose.
Earlier this month, an insider with Ohio’s strip bar industry provided city officials with a large packet of information.
Accusations against the vice unit include claims like extortion, selective enforcement and entrapment, NBC 4 Investigator Tom Sussi has learned.
The whistleblower told Sussi he’s been digging into the city’s vice unit for nearly a year and has evidence to prove his allegations. He said he’s been contacted by the FBI and plans to cooperate fully.
Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Mayor Andy Ginther, said “the Mayor’s office did receive (the) information,” and “it has been made available” to the task force.
We sure are keeping the FBI busy this week, aren’t we?
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.