Columbus Division of Police Vice Officers Steven G. Rosser, 43, and Whitney R. Lancaster, 57, were arrested on March 31 after a grand jury charged them with unlawful searches and seizures, and double billing of duties in Columbus, Ohio.
The indictment alleges that Rosser and Lancaster abused their badges and deprived individuals of their Constitutional Rights. The U.S. Attorney’s Office outlined several incidents of alleged corruption involving the officers including a fight that led to an unlawful arrest at Nick’s Cabaret in 2015, searching an owner of The Dollhouse without probable cause in 2018, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud at Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort in 2018.
The pair allegedly double billed Fort Rapids and Columbus Division of Police for 29 days between January and May 2018 after the sprinkler system broke in January of that year, WBNS News reports.
U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers says:
“We will root out any alleged bad actors acting under color of law. We are grateful to the vast majority of officers who do the honorable work of protecting us and the Constitution.”
Federal prosecutors allege Rosser became involved in a “physical altercation” with a man outside a strip club in 2015 and later used the log-in credentials of a fellow officer to create a false report against the man alleging he made a “threat” on Rosser’s life. The man spent five days in jail before the charges were ultimately dropped.
Court documents say Rosser and Lancaster used their positions as police officers to victimize people. The officers also spent $2,700 of police department money on tips and lap dances and $1200 on alcohol while investigating strip clubs for alleged drug activity and human trafficking.
Both Rosser and Lancaster were involved in the controversial arrest of Stormy Daniels and two other women in July of 2018. The women all sued and received settlements from the city. Some of the settlements totaled $450,000, $150,000, and $185,000.
The vice officers had said they were investigating human trafficking in strip clubs – but an internal investigation found they had no real motive to be at the strip clubs and that Daniels’ arrest was improper.
Rosser was employed by Columbus Division of Police for 19 years with five years as a vice officer, and Lancaster was an employee for 31 years with two years as a vice officer.