For the past few days I’ve been trying to get my arms around the decision by the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police to pay for the legal defense of David Bisard. We all know the story, Bisard is accused of reckless homicide for killing one motorist and injuring two others back in August. Although he did not show any signs of intoxication at the scene, it was later discovered his blood alcohol content level was 0.19.
FOP President Bill Owensby says the organization voted to defend Bisard because he’s entitled to due process. When asked about the BAC test Owensby said it didn’t come up in discussions and had Bisard been charged with OWI, he would not have received representation. He pointed to the city’s report of the Bisard case that noted more than five dozen witnesses did not notice any sign of impairment by Bisard. He then went on to say the FOP is not defending Bisard’s actions, but making sure he has due process.
I understand the point of the FOP, like any professional organization, is to defend its members who are accused of wrongdoing in the course of their duties. But I can’t understand for the life of me why the FOP would want to take on something this toxic, particularly when the organization has a choice.
The FOP did not defend officer Candi Perry who was accused last year of concealing information regarding a homicide. Perry was later exonerated. The FOP did defend Jerry Piland who was accused of using excessive force against Brandon Johnson. I can understand the Piland decision because there was an issue about whether the force was excessive, but David Bisard, I can’t grasp. Yes, everyone is entitled to due process, but that doesn’t mean you have to foot the bill for their day in court.
In addition, in the back and forth public relations war between the FOP and Public Safety Director Frank Straub, the defense of Bisard doesn’t score any points in the eyes of the public. Owensby did tell me that the membership could come together and vote to revoke Bisard’s representation. No word yet on whether that will happen.