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Ex-Police Officer Sentenced to 11 Years for Abducting Sex Workers After Previously Dodging Sentence for Killing One


Andrew Mitchell was a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. He pleaded guilty to two counts of depriving someone of their rights under color of law and one count of tampering with a witness and was given an 11-year federal prison term. People say that Mitchell, who used to work in the vice area, picked up sex workers and sexually assaulted them. This week, a federal judge gave the person the harshest term possible suggested by prosecutors. It includes a $300 fine and five years of being closely watched while they are free.

Even though Mitchell was found guilty, his victims will not get any money back. Mitchell was also found not guilty of more serious charges linked to the death of Donna Castleberry last year. Mitchell shot Castleberry, who was 23 years old, while she was in his unmarked police car. He said it was self-defense because Castleberry had stabbed him. But he was charged with murder and manslaughter without consent by a grand jury. The first trial ended in a mistrial, and even though his story didn’t make sense, the second jury found him not guilty.

Mitchell did wrong things before and after Castleberry’s death. A woman named Jane Doe sued him in civil court, saying that Mitchell forced her to do sexual acts in return for not arresting her. The case was thrown out in 2022, but it’s not clear why.

In their 2019 charges, federal authorities described Mitchell’s predatory behavior. They said he sexually assaulted sex workers by trapping them in his car. One victim was tied to the doorknob of a car while warrants were being checked, and another was held in a park away from everyone else. Mitchell denied the sexual assault claims, but prosecutors focused on the proof that backed up the victims’ stories to show how Mitchell abused his power.

Mitchell’s sentencing gives his victims some peace, but it also brings up bigger problems within the Columbus Division of Police. “Andrew Mitchell betrayed his oath, the values of the Columbus Division of Police, and the trust of our community,” it said. The government hopes that Mitchell’s term will bring peace to those he hurt.

Mitchell’s case is part of a worrying trend in the way the Columbus police work. In 2018, vice unit officers nabbed Stormy Daniels without a warrant. This led to federal charges being brought against officers Steven G. Rosser and Whitney R. Lancaster. Because of these incidents, the vice unit was shut down in 2019 and replaced with the Police and Community Together (PACT) Unit, which is meant to make things more open and accountable. But since then, the PACT project has become less well known, and its information page on the city’s website is no longer available.

Mitchell’s conviction is a big step toward fixing wrongdoing, but the case shows how hard it is to hold cops accountable and make sure that vulnerable groups get justice.

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