The FBI has launched an investigation into the Ohio vice squad that arrested adult entertainer Stormy Daniels and made headlines with an officer-involved shooting in the same year.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced in a press release on Thursday that the FBI’s Public Corruption Task Force would be investigating the department’s vice section after a number of allegations regarding criminal activities were brought forth against the unit in the wake of numerous “high profile incidents.”
One such incident was the shooting death of Donna Castleberry, a woman suspected of solicitation. Officer Andrew Mitchell, one of the vice unit’s 20 members, shot and killed Castleberry in August while working undercover after Castleberry allegedly stabbed him. Prior to the shooting, however, another citizen had already filed a complaint against Mitchell, accusing him of criminal misconduct, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Mitchells was officially relieved of duty last week. That same day, the FBI task force reportedly carried out a search of his home, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The vice unit had already been suspended in early September, following not only the shooting death of Castleberry, but the high-profile arrest of Daniels the month before. Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, stepped into the national spotlight earlier this year amid claims that she’d had an affair with Donald Trump prior to his presidency. Ohio officers arrested Daniels at a strip club in July, alleging that she violated the state’s Community Defense Act by letting club patrons touch her during her performance at the club — an action prohibited in the state of Ohio.
Daniels’ lawyer called the arrest a “complete setup,” and charges against Daniels were later dropped due to a technicality wherein the no-touching rule specifically applies to performers who work regularly at a specific location. Daniels was a visiting performer at the Ohio club where she was arrested.
Jacobs issued a statement shortly after Daniels’ arrest admitting that a “mistake” had been made and announcing that the situation would be “reviewed internally.” Operations of the vice unit were later “paused.”
According to Thursday’s press release, the public will be notified before the vice squad resumes operations. In the meantime, the department has encouraged anyone with knowledge of any criminal activity related to members of the squad to call the FBI’s tip line at 614-849-1777.
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