According to the New York times, two police officers have been fired for the wrongful arrest of adult performer Stormy Daniels in Ohio at a strip club in 2018.
The officers in question worked for the city of Columbus. The local police chief had already disciplined two other members of the same department with suspensions for their role in the illegal arrest.
The criminal charges stemmed from her actions while performing at a local gentlemen’s club in the city. The officers conducted a sting to watch the area, however other individuals who engaged in the same kind of behavior were given civil citations rather than charged criminally and there may have been no legitimate reason to use law enforcement resources to investigate actions inside the club. They claimed that she “grabbed their buttocks” during their time in the club and performed other lewd acts. The two terminated officers were later caught lying to internal affairs during the investigation into their conduct during the operation, and they were also found to have violated department rules. Daniels was released from prison shortly after being taken into custody, and the criminal charges were dropped within a 24 hour period following the initial arrest.
A spokesperson from the local fraternal order of police said that the disciplinary actions would be appealed, and their conduct does not warrant termination. However, the city has already paid out thousands of dollars in a lawsuit settlement agreement based on this same incident amidst claims that the arrest of the performer was politically motivated. A federal corruption investigation caused Columbus to disband the particular vice squad of officers that was involved. The weight of the evidence against them and actions already taken seem to suggest that getting the terminations overturned through appeals will be difficult. The city’s public safety director has already reviewed the chief’s initial decision and findings, and released a statement that the officers neglected their duty and acted incompetently.
An attorney representing Daniels in the matter claims that the arrest was an abuse of power that was merely meant to humiliate her and generate publicity, without any legitimate crime being committed or genuine danger to public safety. He was also grateful that the federal lawsuit based on the wrongful arrest resulted in a large settlement, which exposed their wrongdoing while sending a strong message regarding police misconduct. He essentially called the entire situation a botched conspiracy against her.
Daniels became a constant fixture in the news around the time of the arrest due to an affair with President Trump many years earlier, long before he was elected.
Police misconduct and wrongful arrests
It is not uncommon for police to arrest someone as a form or retaliation or for illegitimate reasons. Attorneys who practice in this area of the law often use federal civil rights laws to hold police officers responsible for various forms of mistreatment, including violence against suspects and planted evidence. Government employees are not allowed to abuse their power to mistreat members of the public, and they can be sued when they do so. While the officers may not be charged criminally in most instances, a civil lawsuit can result in payouts for the victims and the officers responsible may be disciplined by their internal affairs department.