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FBI Searches Home Of Columbus Police Vice Detective

Andy L

The FBI has searched the home of Columbus Police vice detective Andrew Mitchell under investigation for misconduct. The search stems from a complaint made against Mitchell one week before he killed a woman inside his unmarked car.

The Columbus Dispatch reports an FBI spokesperson said the search occurred Wednesday at Mitchell’s home. Mitchell, a 30-year veteran, was relieved of duty with pay on Wednesday, according to a department spokesperson.

Deputy Chief Tim Becker announced in early September a “comprehensive review” of all Vice Unit procedures and policies. On Thursday, Chief Kim Jacobs said that she asked the FBI’s Public Corruption Task Force to assist with the review, after “evidence has developed in the investigations.”

Mitchell fatally shot 23-year-old Donna Castleberry on August 23 while arresting her on prostitution charges. Columbus Police said “an altercation occurred” in the back of his unmarked car, where Castleberry reportedly stabbed him in the hand. That shooting remains under investigation.

Becker said that Mitchell became the subject of a separate misconduct investigation less than week before the shooting. Becker said he didn’t suspend Mitchell then due to lack of credible evidence.

"We have previously confirmed that the activities of a few of our Vice section members are currently under criminal or administrative investigation," Becker said earlier this month. "These investigations are complicated and they take time, but they're all on the front-burner."

Castleberry’s shooting was one of two events that contributed to the department’s “freeze” of most Vice Unit operations. The other was the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, by undercover officers at a Columbus strip club. Columbus City Attorney dropped all charges against Clifford and two other women, saying Ohio’s “Community Defense Act” was unenforceable.

A union official declined to comment about the FBI taking over the vice unit investigation.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.