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.
Mnuchin threatens to make taxpayers pay back COVID money unless Trump is reelected
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested on Sunday that Americans will have to pay the government back for any payroll tax reduction unless President Donald Trump is reelected.
In an interview on FOX, host Chris Wallace noted that the president's latest executive action on COVID-19 financial relief is "not a tax cut."
"It's a payroll tax suspension," Wallace explained. "Isn't there a danger that a lot of businesses won't pass these saving through to workers because they're going to hold on to the money because at some point, according to this executive action by the end of the year, those payroll taxes are going to be have to be paid anyway?"
‘We need a reality check here’: CNN’s Bash cuts off Kudlow’s rambling spin on Trump’s unemployment plans
An alternately amused and baffled Dana Bash was forced to cut off Donald Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow on CNN Sunday morning as he attempted to spin the president's plans to help out the unemployed with income supplements, changing his numbers from $400 to $800 to $1,200 all within three to four sentences.
Pressed about the president's executive order calling for a $400 supplement -- with $100 coming from the states at Trump's demand -- the State of the Union fill-in host tried to cut through Kudlow's veering from dollar amount to dollar amount to get a clearer understanding of what the president is proposing.
Nancy Pelosi owns Chris Wallace: ‘Clearly you don’t have an understanding of what is happening here’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faced off against Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday over the failure to negotiate a COVID-19 financial relief bill.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace suggested that there is an upside to executive actions taken by President Donald Trump in lieu of a financial relief bill because some people will get protections from evictions "rather than getting nothing at all."
For her part, Pelosi quoted a Republican senator who said that the president's executive action is "constitutional slop."
"While he says he's going to have a moratorium on evictions, he's going to ask the folks in charge to study if that's feasible," Pelosi explained before noting that the president's payroll tax holiday serves to "undermine Social Security and Medicare."