A federal grand jury indicted former Columbus Police officer Andrew Mitchell on two additional charges Thursday.
One count is for obstruction of justice, which could result in up to 20 years in prison, and the second is for destructing or removing property to prevent seizure, which could result in up to five years in prison.
Mitchell was arrested by federal authorities March 11 and charged with allegedly kidnapping victims under the pretense of an arrest and forcing them to have sex in order to be released. A federal grand jury indicted him on seven counts: three counts of depriving individuals of their civil rights while acting under the color of the law, two counts of witness tampering, one count of making false statements to federal agents and one of obstructing justice.
Mitchell pleaded not guilty to all counts. He is currently being held without bond ahead of his trial.
A court document released by U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman’s office Thursday alleges that in October 2018, Mitchell destroyed, disposed of, concealed or altered records, documents, clothing and more in an attempt to stop them from being used as evidence in the federal case currently pending against him.
Mitchell allegedly directed individuals to assist him in removing and throwing away potential evidence, as well as cleaning out items in an apartment on Denune Avenue in Columbus with bleach and other chemicals.
"It is alleged that Mitchell knowingly destroyed, damaged or removed property prior to a lawful, court-authorized search conducted by the FBI, thus preventing federal authorities from taking the property into custody," Glassman writes in a press release.
Mitchell, a 31-year veteran of the department, worked primarily on solicitation cases with the now-shuttered Vice Unit. He was relieved from duty in September 2018 and retired in "bad standing" last month, following his federal indictment.
Interim Police Chief Tom Quinlan abolished the Vice Unit entirely in March 2019. An FBI investigation into the unit is still ongoing.
Earlier this month, Mitchell was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in a separate case, stemming from the fatal shooting of Donna Castleberry last August. He pleaded not guilty to both those charges, as well.
If you have information to share about the Vice Unit, contact WOSU at firstname.lastname@example.org.