Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Frank Straub and newly appointed acting IMPD Police Chief Rick Hite went before the media this afternoon to tell the public that the second vial of blood in the David Bisard drunk driving case had been mishandled and several IMPD staff were being put on administrative leave and current chief Paul Ciesielski was stepping down from his position.
According to city officials, the second vial of Bisard blood was improperly transferred from the property room to long term storage with several other vials of blood. The Mayor and Public Safety would not say whether it was done accidentally or with malicious intent. However they did say the transfer may have compromised the investigation. Several staff members, including IMPD Deputy Chief Val Cunningham have been placed administrative leave with pay pending the investigation. Chief Ciesielski turned in his resignation as Chief and the Hite was appointed to take his place.
The Mayor called it an embarrassment for the city and says he is calling the FBI to help investigate. Straub says the screw up once again underlined the need to continue the department reforms. However, Bill Owensby, the head of the Fraternal order of Police which has been at odds with Straub say the public safety director should have also turned in his resignation as well.
As to the impact on the Bisard case, the Marion County prosecutor’s office issued a statement this afternoon saying,
“We are currently working with an independent lab to clarify the implications of testing the blood from the second vial, and do not yet know if or how the blood was affected. We do not know the events that transpired causing Officer Bisard’s blood to be moved while in IMPD’s custody, and we are exceedingly concerned that it occurred. I met with the victims and victims’ families this morning at 11a.m. to inform them.
At this time, we do not believe these developments will negatively impact the prosecution of this case. Regardless of these developments, this office is continuing to move forward with the prosecution against Officer Bisard.”
You can hear the entire news conference below, as well as subsequent comments from FOP President Bill Owensby.
Bisard was accused of drunk driving while on duty in August 2010 resulting in a fatality however IMPD did not take him to the proper medical facility for a blood draw so the evidence was not allowed.