For the second time, Indianapolis Police are under fire for mishandling the evidence in a case where a cop is accused of driving his squad car into motorcyclists while he was allegedly drunk, killing one. Community members, leaders, and even other cops are calling for a major shake-up within the department.
Chief Paul Ciesielski resigned his position after the latest mess-up came to light. Some are saying his boss, Public Safety Director Frank Straub should follow suit. But just this week Straub was before the City-County Council committee outlining the reasons why he should keep his job.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the case in question involved now-suspended officer David Bisard. Bisard is accused of plowing through a group of motorcyclists, injuring several and killing one. It is suspected that he had been drinking. Blood evidence reportedly backs this allegation.
Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins had ruled the blood evidence was inadmissible in court because the police allowed someone not authorized under state drunk-driving laws to draw the blood from Officer Bisard. However, he did mandate that the evidence be maintained.
The latest screw-up was discovered when the vials of blood were found in an unrefrigerated storage area, rather than kept cold.
Though Ciesielski left his position as Chief, he will stay on as a Captain within the Department. Three others in the department have been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the mistake. The FBI will also be investigating the issue to see if anyone should face criminal charges for the mishandled evidence.
When it seems as if a police department may be trying to save one of their own, through intentional mistakes on the case, it is definitely time for an in-depth investigation to ensure this isn’t the case and if it is, to remedy the situation.
One community spokesperson, Rev. Stepehen J. Clay, says “IMPD must undergo critical operational changes and stop the game of musical chairs with the chain of command.”
Others, even within the department, are saying Straub needs to go. Having only been in the department (and the state of Indiana) for two years, those within the department have suggested that he merely passes the buck, throws people under the bus, and blames “past corruption” for the problems in the department today.
In the Bisard case, two of the motorcyclists have filed civil suits against Bisard and the city. Bisard faces a litany of charges including reckless homicide.
This case outlines the importance of good evidence handling procedures within law enforcement. Even having the wrong person draw your blood can result in the evidence being ruled inadmissible.
When you are facing criminal charges, your attorney will look closely at the evidence to ensure it wasn’t obtained in violation of your rights and if there are issues with it, they will work to have it thrown out of court.
If you are accused of a crime and have questions about the evidence against you, contact us today.