Vice Commander: “No specific complaint” against Sirens the night officers arrested Stormy Daniels

Published:
Updated:

COLUMBUS – The commander of the Columbus Division of Police’s vice unit told internal affairs investigators that there was “no specific” complaint against the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club the night adult film star Stormy Daniels and two other women were arrested.

That August statement by Commander Terry Moore appears to be in direct conflict with what Columbus vice officers initially said were their justifications for entering the strip club in July.

Police records from July 11 show that four vice officers entered Sirens to investigate allegations of “alleged prostitution and drug activity.”

Advertisement - Story continues below

But Commander Terry Moore told internal affairs investigators in late August that the "investigative activity was a carryover from investigations that had occurred at Kahoots Gentlemen's Club and work done by the Ohio Investigative Unit at a strip club named Scores."

(Records reviewed by 10 Investigates show of the 41 people cited in the past two years with Ohio’s “no touching” law, which prohibits exotic dancers from having physical contact with patrons, 35 of the 41 people who were cited worked at Kahoots. Investigative files show during that same period, three people were charged with solicitation).

Commander Moore also told investigators while no formal meeting about Sirens occurred, he gave authorization for vice to be at Sirens, but also said: “there was no specific complaint at Sirens being investigated on the date that the arrests" occurred.

Four Columbus Police vice officers are now being sued, accused in a federal lawsuit of using their conservative political leanings to target Daniels, who has said that she had an affair with Donald Trump before he became president.

While a forensic analysis of vice officers’ cell phones showed there were no pre-planned operation to arrest Stormy Daniels, a closer view of one of cell phone records show at least one vice officer searched his/her cell phone the night before Daniel’s arrest to review the Ohio Revised Code for operating a sexually oriented business – the same charge used against Daniels and two other women the next day.

The internal affairs documents provided to 10 Investigates also made no mention of internal emails that previously showed vice officers discussed where and when Daniels was going to be performing in Columbus and included a map and picture of Daniels with Donald Trump.

Commander Moore told internal affairs investigators that there was no political discussions involved regarding the reason why vice was at Sirens.

The internal affairs investigations into Daniels’ arrest is still ongoing and the records provided to 10 Investigates did not include interviews from all vice officers involved in Daniels’ arrest.

Officer Mary Praither, who was also interviewed by internal affairs, said she was told there had been reports of human trafficking and underage drinking occurring at Sirens. A hand-written notation is in the margin of document next to Praither’s statement.

It reads “who told her this?”

Police runs to Sirens dating back to June of 2016 show just one vice complaint from March of 2017 from an intoxicated man who said he was thrown out of the club for refusing to pay for drugs and sex. 10 Investigates called the number listed on the report. The man who answered said he lived out of state and had never heard of Sirens or visited there.

Daniels and two other women became prominent examples of exotic dancers who have been cited by Columbus Police since 2017 for violating Ohio’s Community Defense Act, a rarely cited law that prohibits exotic dancers from having physical contact with patrons.

The charges against Daniels and nearly three dozen others were dropped after the City Attorney Zach Klein refused to prosecute the cases noting that the officers working in their official capacity could not be “patrons” as the law requires.

Police Chief Kim Jacobs placed the vice unit on hold in early September following the Stormy Daniels controversy and the fatal shooting of a Donna Castleberry during a prostitution sting by vice officer Andrew Mitchell in August (at the time, Mitchell was already the focus of a separate criminal probe by the department). Castleberry’s family have protested and raised questions about why Mitchell was still on assignment at the time.

A CPD spokeswoman told 10 Investigates that the internal investigation is ongoing.

Two vice officers – Det. Steve Rosser and Andrew Mitchell – have been relieved of their duties and given other assignments while an FBI criminal probe and the internal affairs investigation continue.

Rosser, who 10 Investigates first reported in October, has been accused of targeting businesses in the past. He was relieved of his duties in late October.

Mitchell, who is the subject of a separate criminal probe, has not been charged but was relieved of his assignment in September. Mitchell declined to be interviewed by 10 Investigates in October.