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Crime

“Deprived victims of their civil rights,” Columbus cop facing life sentence

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A CPD vice officer has been accused of committing serious criminal acts while on duty according to a report from NBC4i.

Columbus Vice Detective Andrew Mitchell is accused of kidnapping women under the guise of arrest, forcing them to engage in sex acts in exchange for their freedom.

The charges Mitchell faces also include obstruction of justice, lying to the FBI, and tampering with witnesses.

An indictment, which was unsealed at Mitchell’s court appearance on March 11, alleges Mitchell, “while acting under the color of the law, deprived victims of their civil rights, namely, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

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The indictment outlines three separate incidents involving two women, in which Mitchell is accused of taking the women to separate locations and forcing them to engage in sex acts before being released.

A 31-year veteran of the Columbus Division of Police, Mitchell had been a part of the Vice Unit since March of 2017. His duties in that role involving the policing of prostitution are believed to have brought him in contact with his alleged victims.

Mitchell made headlines in 2018 when he fatally shot 23-year-old Donna Castleberry on August 23 after she stabbed him in the hand while sitting in his unmarked police car.

According to CPD, Mitchell was already under investigation for alleged criminal misconduct before prior to the fatal shooting and was suspended from duty with pay in October of 2018.

If convicted on these new charges, Mitchell could face a sentence of life in prison.

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Crime

TBT: The Short North Posse – Columbus’ most notorious gang

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To look at the Short North in 2019, it’s hard to imagine that it was once the stomping grounds of one of the most notorious and violent street gangs in Columbus history. Though the area is hardly free from crime today, nothing matches the scope and intensity of the offenses brought to bear on the neighborhood by the Short North Posse in the 1990s.

For those unaware of the Posse and its reputation, Columbus Monthly once called the nationally-known street gang “the biggest, baddest, gun-totingest, drug-slingingest, most murderous bunch in town.” The group’s activities were serious enough to draw the attention of local and federal authorities, resulting in over 60 arrests of posse members, many of which carried hefty sentences.

According to court records, the Short North Posse was formed by a group of cocaine dealers who wanted to carve out an area of Columbus as their own turf – the area just north of downtown Columbus. Like any gang, the Posse offered protection to its members while keeping rival gangs and drug dealers at bay.

Though its members were eventually proven guilty of everything from drug charges to racketeering and murder, some claim The Short North Posse were simply administering their own brand of street justice in a neighborhood that had long been neglected by polite society.

Utilizing undercover detectives and covert drug stings, Columbus Police began targeting gang activity in the Short North area in 1993. By May of 1994, the scope of the investigation expanded to include federal authorities.

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In March of 1995, a sweeping federal investigation resulted in more than 200 charges from drug dealing to money laundering being leveled against alleged Posse members. More than 40 members of the gang were arrested and tried, with many receiving maximum sentences.

In spite of these wide-ranging convictions, the Short North Posse was far from finished, as a new generation of members stepped up to replace those who were incarcerated. Two more major waves of arrests followed, with ten more Posse members facing charges in 2006.

19 additional arrests in 2010 effectively marked the end of the Posse’s presence as a criminal force in the city. Of the 19 charged, 13 pleaded guilty and six others were convicted by juries and sentenced to life without parole. In all, the final wave of arrests yielded 31 murder-related convictions.

Short North Posse leader Robert Ledbetter

The final conviction associated with the Short North Posse came in 2017. Robert Ledbetter, a Posse leader, was sentenced to several consecutive life sentences for the revenge killing of 23-year-old Alan Johnson in 2006, who had allegedly murdered Ledbetter’s brother. He was also convicted for his role in the death of drug dealer Marschell Brumfield Junior, and for ordering the murder of his then girlfriend while he was in custody in 2011.

While the violent nature of the crimes committed by Posse members is a matter of record, some say there are two sides to the long-standing gang’s saga.

Was the Short North Posse really as bad as their rap sheet would suggest, or were they unjustly targeted by powerful interests? Whatever the case may be, the Short North of today bears little resemblance to the streets run by Posse members two decades ago.

 

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Crime

Bloody Sunday: two stabbed at Short North bar

Mike Thomas

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Capping off a weekend of violence in the Short North that included a massive brawl, two people were taken to the hospital with stab wounds suffered from an incident at a High Street bar Sunday night.

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Records show that Columbus police responded to a call at Standard Hall around 9:00PM. They say a man stabbed two bouncers when they attempted to remove him from the bar.

When police arrived on the scene, they located the two victims who were “bleeding and had visible injuries” according to an unofficial report. The two were transported to OSU medical center, both in stable condition.

The suspect is still on the loose, and is wanted for felonious assault. Police have not released a description of the perpetrator at this time.

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Crime

Video: weekend brawl stops traffic in Short North Streets

Mike Thomas

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For most people, St. Paddy’s day is a joyful celebration of all things Irish. For others, the holiday is used as a pretense to unleash more base tendencies of human nature through binge drinking, violence, and general foolishness.

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A video showcasing a dustup involving a dozen or more St. Paddy’s revelers in the the Short North this weekend has been making the rounds on social media. The fracas broke out in front of the Columbus convention center, interrupting traffic for several minutes.

Video of the brawl was posted to imgur, and is embedded below. The video contains acts of violence that some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

No cause for the fight has been established and police records indicate no arrests were made in relation to the incident.

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