COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus decided Thursday that two officers should be fired and two others suspended over the handling of the Stormy Daniels arrest in 2018.
Pettus decided that Officer Whitney Lancaster and Steven Rosser should be terminated for demonstrating ‘gross neglect of duty and incompetence.’
“The actions taken at Sirens regarding Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) deviated significantly from actions at every other strip club investigated by you. This arrest was not like any other strip club investigations because in the other strip club investigations, all charges were filed at a later time, or the offender was released on a summons. Not a single other suspect was deprived of their rights by being arrsted “On View” and taken to the Franklin County Jail for slating, except Ms. Clifford demonstrating gross neglect of duty and incompetence,” said the ruling against former officer Lancaster.
Director Pettus also recommended a suspension of 240 hours for Lt. Ronald Kemmerling and a suspension of 120 hours for Sgt. Scott Soha.
Departmental charges were filed against the officers in July of 2019.
In January 2019, Stephanie Clifford, who performs in adult films and strip clubs under the stage name Stormy Daniels, filed a lawsuit against the Columbus Division of Police and several officers.
In the lawsuit, Clifford claims her arrest was planned days before July 11, 2018 performance at Sirens. The lawsuit claims the arrest was part of an attempt by officers to disparage her character and credibility due to her criticism of President Donald Trump.
Prosecutors dropped charges against Clifford hours later, saying the law cited in her arrest applied only to those who regularly performed at the club.
Clifford settled the case with CPD for $450,000.