On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice arrested and filed indictments against Andrew Mitchell for kidnapping a multitude of women under the pretense of arrest and forced them to have sex in exchange for their freedom.
Although no local or state charges were filed against the veteran police officer, federal charges also included witness tampering, obstruction of justice, making a false statement to federal investigators, and deprivation of rights under color of law. It was also discovered that Mitchell asked other people in his department to help him cover up the crimes. He also lied to federal prosecutors about soliciting prostitutes for sex.
The indictment detailed an specific incident which occurred in July 2017. Andrew Mitchell, allegedly, kidnapped one of his victims placing her under arrest and then taking her to a location where he raped her in order for her to be free from custody. Two similar incidents also took place in September 2017 and the summer of 2018.
Ben Glassman, the U.S. attorney for the southern half of Ohio, made a statement regarding Mitchell’s conduct. He said, “We rely on the police to serve and protect us, and when you have a police officer who commits a crime, that is a very serious breach of trust.”
“Police officers take an oath to the Constitution and promise to obey federal, state and local laws,” said Thomas Quinlan, interim Columbus police chief.
“The community has every right to be disgusted by the news, as well as everyone who wears this badge,” he continued.
Andrew Mitchell planned to plead not guilty and plans on fighting the changes. Mitchell was terminated in September while the ongoing FBI public corruption task force investigation still continues.
What does this mean for the women who may have been falsely jailed because of Mitchell’s bogus arrest record?
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced Tuesday that his office will now review and dismiss any open and pending cases that were solely investigated by Mitchell.
Columbus city prosecutor’s office spokeswoman, Meredith Tucker, said that his old cases were under review and that there were no current findings of his cases needing to be thrown out.
Mitchell was directly linked to filing at least 86 cases in 2018. Keep in mind, he had been with the Columbus Police Department since 1988 and on the vice squad since March 2017.
Klein said, in a news release, that “if defendants who have previously pleaded guilty to a charge have facts involving Officer Mitchell that were not known to prosecutors at the time of conviction, we will review those convictions on a case-by-case basis.”
The Columbus Police Department has an extensive and thorough candidate selection and vetting process for new recruits. Maybe the department should require annual psychiatric assessments to veteran officers as well to prevent further situations like this from happening.