On January 23, Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus fired two officers who had arrested Stormy Daniels during her “Make America Horny Again” show in a Columbus strip club.
The two officers, Steven Rossler and Whitney Lancaster, were members of the vice unit at the time. 43-year-old Rossler had been on the Columbus police force for 19 years, and 57-year-old Lancaster had served 32 years.
According to court documents, during her performance at club Sirens, Daniels had forced patrons’ faces into her breasts, and even smacked some of them with her bare breasts. She had allegedly touched a number of officers in an illegal manner, and also fondled the breasts and buttocks of female patrons – including a female police officer.
Daniels was arrested after touching three officers during her performance, with the arresting officers stating that she violated the “Ohio Stripper Bill” that was passed in 2007. The law prohibits partially nude or nude dancers from touching patrons, and vice versa.
However, the Ohio Revised Code states that the law is only applicable to dancers who perform in the venue on multiple occasions. Since Daniels was a guest stripper, the charges against her were dropped.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer at the time, claimed that his client’s arrest was politically motivated, and a setup.
Daniels filed a lawsuit against the Columbus officers, alleging that they violated her civil rights during her arrest on July 11, 2018.
The lawsuit alleged that Officers Rosser, Lancaster, Shana Keckley, and Mary Praither had targeted her for political reasons, and accused them of being Republicans or supporters of President Trump.
Daniels’ lawsuit sought $2 million in damages for civil conspiracy to violate her rights, malicious prosecution, false arrest, abuse of process, and defamation.
The lawsuit read: “By maliciously releasing false statements to public newspapers and broadcasters and on social media platforms strongly implying Ms. Clifford was engaged in immoral conduct... defendants defamed Ms. Clifford, causing injury to her reputation and exposing her to contempt, ridicule, shame and disgrace in the community.”
Thomas Quinlan, then-Interim Police Chief, revealed that Columbus Police Commander Terry Moore, Lieutenant Ron Kemmerling, Sergeant Scott Soha, and Officers Rosser and Lancaster were under investigation for their part in Daniels’ arrest.
"I made this decision because these officers violated our rules of conduct. The range of discipline for these officers can include a reprimand, a suspension, demotion, and/or termination,” Chief Quinlan said.
In a statement, Pettus stated that Rosser and Lancaster had been terminated and that their supervisors had been suspended for their handling of the situation and failure to supervise.
Lt. Kimmerling was suspended for six weeks and Sgt. Soha got three weeks.