Columbus, Ohio recently settled a lawsuit with the family of Donna Castleberry, ending a wrongful death suit the family filed against the city.
The city of Columbus recently agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of Donna Castleberry, a young woman who was “shot and killed by a former vice officer in 2018.”
The tragic incident occurred back on August 23, 2018. On that day, former Columbus Police Vice Officer Andrew Mitchell was “working undercover when he picked up Castleberry during an alleged prostitution sting.” According to the Columbus police department, Mitchell “used force and opened fire after Castleberry pulled a knife and cut him during an altercation.” According to reports, “Mitchell shot multiple times inside the car, hitting Castleberry…she died at a hospital.”
However, the suit that Castleberry’s family filed argued that Castleberry “did not believe Mitchell was an officer.” Additionally, in the lawsuit, the family questioned the use of deadly force and “suggested Mitchell should not have been on police duty that day because he was already the focus of a separate criminal probe by his own department for allegedly abusing his police powers.”
As part of the recent settlement, the city will fork over more than $1 million to Castleberry’s family. The payout marks one of the largest of its kind in the history of the city. When the suit was originally filed, it was seeking $3.5 million.
As a result of the shooting, Mitchell is facing charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. His trial, which was expected to begin this month, won’t take place until next year. When commenting on the matter, Mark Collin, Mitchell’s defense attorney, said:
“In a case like this, we are going to require about 250 jurors to come in. Looking at it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to bring 250 people to this area with what is going on in our community with the pandemic.”
It’s important to note that the murder and manslaughter charges aren’t the only legal troubles Mitchell is facing. In fact, Mitchell resigned as an officer in March 2019 “around the same time he was indicted on federal charges of abusing his badge.” As it turns out, federal prosecutors alleged in the past that Mitchell had a history of coercing women “into sexual acts under the threat of arrest.”
In a statement about the recent settlement, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said:
“This is still an active case, so we are limited on what can be discussed at this time. With that said, we have been in active conversations with the Castleberry family’s lawyer with the goal of promoting justice and embracing accountability.”