In a case that bears some resemblance to that of ex-cop Daniel Holtzclaw, who in 2016 was found guilty of assaulting black women while on duty and threatening them into silence, 30-year Columbus Police Department veteran Andrew Mitchell has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping women “under the guise of making an arrest” and forcing them to engage in sexual acts in exchange for their freedom, according to the Department of Justice.
After a grand jury indictment on March 7, federal agents have charged Mitchell on seven counts—three regarding alleged incidences of forcing women into sexual acts, and four regarding witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and giving a false statement to authorities regarding the his alleged misconduct. If convicted, Mitchell faces up to life in prison.
One woman that Mitchell arrested told Columbus CBS affiliate 10TV that Mitchell charged her when she refused to have sex with him (it’s not clear whether the woman is one of the alleged victims in the Department of Justice’s case).
Mitchell is also under a separate investigation for the fatal shooting of sex worker Donna Castleberry in August. Police have said that “an altercation occurred” between the two in the back of his unmarked car, and the case will soon head to a grand jury. (The FBI began investigating Mitchell’s alleged misconduct one week before Castleberry’s shooting.)
Mitchell’s lawyer Mark Collins told The Daily Beast that Mitchell will plead not guilty.
“We look forward to vigorously and zealously representing him at the trial,” Collins said.