Last July, porn star Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, was arrested at a Columbus strip club by three undercover vice officers, and charged with three counts of illegal touching of a patron. She was shortly released after the city prosecutor concluded she had not committed any crime.
Now, according to The New York Times, the vice unit that arrested her is being disbanded, shortly after one of its detectives, Andrew Mitchell, was arrested on federal charges of kidnap and rape:
His tenure was almost immediately greeted by scandal, when, last week, federal prosecutors announced that Mr. Mitchell had been arrested on charges that he kidnapped two women under the guise of arrest and forced them to have sex with him to gain their freedom. Mr. Mitchell kidnapped one woman in July 2017 and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to the indictment handed down by a grand jury on March 7; on two separate occasions, in September 2017 and in the summer of 2018, he forced a second woman to have sex with him, it said.
The indictment also said that when Mr. Mitchell learned he was being investigated, he tried to tamper with witnesses and obstruct the investigation and also lied to federal prosecutors about having sex with prostitutes.
“While today’s decision is not a reflection on all the officers assigned to vice, it has become clear there’s a better method of addressing the community’s needs when to it comes to the enforcement of prostitution, alcohol and gambling,” said interim Columbus police chief Thomas Quinlan in a video uploaded to Twitter on Tuesday night. “Soon I am meeting with the deputy chiefs to develop a new model for enforcement. Following this meeting, I will share the division’s plans with the community.”
CPD Announces Major Change in Narcotics Bureau-abolishing Vice Section assignments which fall under the Narcotics Bureau. Vice-related crimes will be addressed using a community-centered approach.
Tonight Chief Quinlan met w/remaining Vice officers who will seek new assignments. pic.twitter.com/FFV0uFt5hj
— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) March 20, 2019
What happened in Columbus, while particularly egregious, was not an isolated incident. The potential for police officers enforcing prostitution offenses to assault women under the color of law, either through physical violence or through coercing sex workers into giving “freebies,” is enormous. A 2007 study found that in Chicago, street prostitutes were more frequently made to perform sexual acts on police officers than were arrested by them, and another study in 2012 found that among some categories of sex workers in some parts of America, police officers are the main source of violence.
Stormy Daniels gained national attention due to President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations for buying Daniels’ silence about an affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Her arrest in Columbus sparked speculation that the police were targeting her politically, something the department denies, but that emails suggest may have occurred.
So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire
In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial
Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.
Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.
To make his point that Pupura was being untruthful, Williams then showed a clip of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians were asking about the delay on the day of the Trump phone call that was the starting point of the impeachment trial.
‘That dog doesn’t hunt’: Ex-senator burns down fake GOP outrage over Schiff’s ‘heads on pikes’ comment
Speaking to MSNBC's Brian Williams on Saturday, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) had no patience for the GOP senators, including the so-called "moderates" Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), complaining about the closing comments by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) quoting an anonymous source to CBS News saying President Donald Trump and threatened senators would have their "head on a pike" if they voted to convict.
"Several Republican senators took umbrage," said Williams. "Collins is said to have reacted verbally in the chamber. Murkowski was hurt afterwards. Can they really pin a vote on injured feelings?"