A request by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office is getting a response in the investigation of a Columbus police vice detective.
Monday, the feds urged people to call a tip line with information about officer Andrew Mitchell or any other officer. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office confirm calls have come in but they won’t say how many or give details about the calls. They say people should continue to call if they have information. (The tip line number is 614-849-1777)
Mitchell returns to federal court Wednesday for a detention hearing after he was taken into custody Monday morning on Columbus Police headquarters. He is currently on unpaid leave with the Columbus Police Department and declined a jailhouse interview a day after his arrest and federal indictment on seven counts.
Mitchell is charged with multiple counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, accused of kidnapping women in 2017 and 2018 under the guise of an arrest and forcing them into sex acts for their release. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Mitchell did this to one victim twice. He’s also accused of witness tampering and lying to the FBI about whether he had sex with prostitutes when the feds say he did pay for sex.
The FOP president calls the allegations very concerning and not something they support if true.
Columbus police brought the case to the FBI last fall for help with the investigation after the vice squad was put under review. “The community has every right to be disgusted by the news as well as anyone else who wears the badge,” said Interim Columbus Police Chief, Thomas Quinlan.
During Monday’s news conference, Chief Quinlan expressed that officers take an oath to uphold the constitution and state and federal laws. “This officer will be held accountable but I ask for the community’s continued support for the 1900 officers who work hard every day to honor our profession,” said Chief Quinlan.
One day later, calls have come in to the federal tip line at the urging of the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office for information about Mitchell or any other officer. Mitchell’s attorney says his client denies the allegations.
Donna Castleberry’s family is holding out hope for charges in their separate case involving Mitchell. The officer is under investigation for the on-duty shooting death of Castleberry in August, 2018. He shot her after she reportedly stabbed him in the hand during an alleged prostitution bust.
“I’m not surprised, I wish I was surprised and we wouldn’t want to think that any officer is capable of doing such things but I’m relieved that federal investigators have done their job,” said Bobbi McCalla, Castleberry’s sister.
Mitchell is being held at a northwest Ohio jail. His attorney says he wants his client out so they can prepare for this federal case and for when the Franklin County grand jury reviews the shooting death of Donna Castleberry.