Mayor: Letter On Bisard Case From County Prosecutor A "Non-Issue"
Prosecutor says he and Mayor are now on same page, but that wasn't the case earlier this month
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry (WIBC.com photo: Ray Steele)
The Mayor and the Marion County Prosecutor say they are now on the same page when it comes to the prosecution of suspended IMPD officer David Bisard, but that wasn't the case earlier this month.
Prosecutor Terry Curry hand delivered a letter to Mayor Ballard on May 4th demanding the immediate dismissal of Public Safety Director Frank Straub and Straub's top civilian deputy, Ellen Corcella. Straub had already announced his resignation, effective August 1. But Curry was furious because Straub failed to notify the prosecutor's office that Corcella, at Straub's request, pulled vials of Bisard's blood from the police property room in mid-April. "Corcella... and detectives had gone to the property room, pulled both vials, broke the seal on the envelopes, taken the vials out and photographed them," Curry said.
Corcella told the prosecutor's office it was part of Public Safety's internal investigation into how a second vial of Bisard's blood was mysteriously moved from the property room to the property room annex at the police academy. Curry says what upset him most is that he learned of the latest movement of Bisard's blood through an anonymous tip he received one day before his letter to the mayor, and that the movement occurred the same day he met with then-IMPD Cheif Paul Cieselski. "We were just, quite frankly, furious to find out that this had been done on Monday, April 16th, the same day we had met with Chief Cieselski, with no notice to our office before or after it occurred," Curry said.
Bisard's patrol car crashed into three motorcyclists in August, 2010, killing one biker and injuring two others. He is charged with reckless homicide, but the prosecutor's office wants to use the second blood vial to charge Bisard with DUI. His initial blood test showed he was drunk, but the first blood vial was thrown out by a judge because the blood was not properly drawn.
Ballard says it was his understanding that Curry's letter was retracted by the prosecutor a few hours after it was delivered, and says he considers this a non-issue. The mayor says continuing to talk about the blood vials while an internal investigation into their handling continues is harmful to the families of the victims of the crash. "(It's) just painful (for the famillies), the pain keeps coming up," Ballard said. "You'll have to ask (Curry) how he feels about it, but I'm just not going to act on it because it's my understanding that it was retracted, and that was the way it was."
Curry says the letter was not retracted but adds he has had numerous conversations with the mayor's chief of staff, Ryan Vaughn, who is also a former deputy prosecutor. "I think we're on the same page going forward, and we're confident that with Ryan's involvement, we're not going to have these issues again."
Curry says he doesn't think this should affect whether the second vial of blood should be admitted as evidence in Bisard's trial. Bisard's attorney has already filed a motion to have the second vial thrown out.
Cieselski resigned his chief's post after the department disclosed that the second vial of blood had been moved. Interim Chief Rick Hite told 93 WIBC he is interested in becoming the permanent chief, but Ballard says he wants to hire a new public safety director first. "That's how we traditionally do things. I will tell you I'm very happy with the direction Chief Hite has taken the department. I think it's tremendous, actually," Ballard said.
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