VIDEO: Bisard blood vial mishandled by IMPD
Chief resigns. Straub will not step down; FOP president says he should
Mayor Greg Ballard on the fallout over the mishandling of David Bisard's blood (WIBC.com video: Ray Steele)
The case had already seen it's share of missteps, dragging on almost two years after a motorcyclist was killed when struck by a police car. Now, another mistake, this one by the suspect's fellow police officers, threatens to undermine prosecutor's efforts to bring the case to a close, and it means a huge demotion for one of the city's top law enforcement officials.
"This is going to be another difficult day for this city and it's police department," said Mayor Greg Ballard in annoucing that Paul Cieselski resigned as IMPD police chief after disclosing that a second vial of blood drawn from suspended IMPD officer David Bisard was mishandled. Other IMPD officers have been placed on administrative leave, and the FBI has been called in to help with an internal investigation.
The second vial was important to the case against Bisard being pursued by the Marion County Prosecutor's office. Though an internal investigation found that Bisard was speeding and sending messages on a laptop computer when his car struck and killed Eric Wells on August 6, 2010, a test of the first vial of blood drawn from Bisard showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit. The county prosecutor at the time, Carl Brizzi, would not charge Bisard with drunk driving because the first blood sample had not been drawn by someone qualfied to do so under Indiana law.
Prosecutors won an order from Marion Co. Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins last week to have the second vial of blood tested to confirm it belonged to Bisard and to see whether it contained a similar blood-alcohol level. But when prosecutors asked about the status of the blood sample, police learned the via were moved last November from the police property room at the City-County Building to the property room annex, located at the police academy at 10th and Post. "That vial remained in a room. It was not refrigerated," said Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub.
Straub and Ballard say an internal investigation is underway, and say the FBI will help. "It's important that an outside agency help us uncover the truth, ensure the integrity of the investigation, and rebuild the people's confidence in this police department," said Ballard.
Ballard says other blood vials were moved along with the second vial belonging to Bisard. "At best, this matter shows gross incompetence, at worst possible criminal intent," Ballard said in apologizing to the victims affected.
Straub says Cieselski took responsibility for the blood vials being moved and resigned Tuesday morning - he will remain a captain with the police department. Straub, however, did not and will not consider stepping down. "It feels really bad the fact that it happened and the fact that I have to stand here repeatedly, with or without the mayor, and talk about actions that are inconsistent with the policies and procedures of this department," Straub said.
Straub's stance didn't sit well with Bill Owensby, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police. "I don't think the resignation went high enough," Owensby said. "The director has handled this investigation from the beginning. Everyone knows the police isn't going to physically handle evidence involved in a case. But (his) resignation was tendered because he was the boss. It goes one step further."
Ballard stood behind Straub, who's nomination for another year in office is still being considered by City-County Council, and Straub says the fact he and Ballard are discussing this in an open way is evidence of his reform. "I have drawn a line in the sand and said aberrant behavior will not be tolerated. Bad procedures are not going to be tolerated. This is 30 or 40 or 50 years of neglect."
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says tests will determine if the second vial of blood has been compromised, but says he believes they still have enough evidence to prosecute Bisard.
DPS Director Frank Straub, Interim IMPD Chief Rick Hite and Mayor Greg Ballard (WIBC.com photo: Ray Steele)
MORE FROM WIBC NEWS:
» VIDEO: Judge Says Second Vial of David Bisard's Blood Can Be Tested (4-12-12)
» Crash Victim's Mother Says She'll Perservere Through Bisard Case Delay (3-12-12)
» VIDEO: Another Delay In David Bisard Case (3-9-12)
» Bisard, Prosecutors May Renew Duel Over Blood Samples (2-17-12)
» Judge Allows Blood Draw In Bisard Case (10-27-11)
» Demoted IMPD Officers Suing City (9-28-11)
» Judge Hears Arguments in David Bisard Case (5-20-11)
» Bisard Appears in Court, Hearing Set for May (3-25-11)
» Attorney Moves to Dismiss Bisard DUI Charge (2-4-11)
» Officer Accused in Fatal Crash Heads to Court (1-14-11)
» Bisard Attorney Reacts To Prosecutor's Decision (1-12-11)
» Prosecutor Reinstates DUI Charges Against Bisard (1-12-11)
» Sign Put up at Scene of Officer's Fatal Crash (12-31-10)
» Officer Demoted in Bisard Crash Is Promoted (12-29-10)
» Family Files Suit Against City in Bisard Crash Case (12-13-10)
» Straub And Owensby to Meet (12-10-10)
» Former IMPD Leader Plans To Sue City (12-9-10)
» Police Release Bisard Emails (11-11-10)
» Bisard Attorney Speaks on Release of Investigation Report (11-10-10)
» IMPD Releases Bisard Report (11-10-10)
» Crash Victim's Family Calls For Transparency (11-1-10)
» Council Committee Formed, May Review Bisard Case (10-5-10)
» Council Expected to Again Put Off Decision on Bisard Probe (9-28-10)
» Mother Of Victim In Bisard Crash Meets With Prosecutor (9-24-10)
» Council Considers Committee to Investigate Bisard Case (9-21-10)
» Bisard Drops Request for Aid from FOP (9-3-10)
» Friend of Bisard Crash Victim Searching for Answers (8-27-10)
» Judge Considers Bisard Change of Venue Request (8-27-10)
» Democrats Want Bipartisan Commission to Consider IMPD Changes (8-26-10)
» Motorcyclists Attempt To Meet With Lt. Governor (8-25-10)
» Three IMPD Officers Demoted (8-21-10)
» DUI Law Was Amended to Allow Lab Techs to Conduct Tests (8-20-10)
» Bikers Angry Over Bisard Case (8-20-10)
» IMPD Officer Charged in DUI Can Keep License (8-19-10)
» Defense: Don't Rush to Judgment Against Bisard (8-13-10)
» Victim of IMPD Crash To File Lawsuit (8-12-10)
» Expert Analyzes Arrested Officer's Alcohol Level (8-12-10)
» Cop Charged in Fatal DUI Arraigned (8-12-10)
» IMPD Officer Faces 7 Counts After Fatal Crash (8-11-10)
» City Leaders "Shocked" By IMPD Officer's Actions (8-11-10)
» IMPD: Officer in Crash Tests Positive for Alcohol (8-10-10)
» One Dead After Motorcycle Crashes Into IMPD Car (8-6-10)