Bad blood

Dateline: Tue 31 May 2011|topnews|text|

   For police -- and oddly, firefighters -- the news may not be a big surprise: Marion County Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins has ruled that the blood test taken on Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer David Bisard is not admissable as evidence in drunk driving charges.

   Bisard is the officer whose speeding cop car plowed into three motorcyclists last summer, kiling Eric Wells and injuring the two others; the case has sparked a lot of emotion, with the Wells' family and friends carefully monitoring developments and advocating on behalf of the victims.

    The word on the street in the law enforcement/fire community has been that the blood draw was bad; a technician who drew the blood allegedly swabbed Bisard's arm with a substance which could have caused the draw to register a higher level of alcohol (it was .19). Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi ruled the test inadmissable, but new Prosecutor Terry Curry refiled the charges.

    As it stands now, the prosecutor's office can still go after Bisard on charges not related to drunk driving -- including reckless homicide. So Bisard is hardly off the hook.

    This story has been a puzzler from the get-go. Apparently, according to eye witnesses, Bisard showed no signs of impairment at the scene. However, police were criticized for drawing the thin blue line around him, treating him more as a victim than a wreckless driver. Certainly public sentiment is against the cops in this debaucle.

    But it's not just the Fraternal Order of Police or Bisard's attorney who are speaking on his behalf. Some firefighters (who were present) also believe the blood draw was problematic. They simply do not believe Bisard was as drunk as the test indicated, or even drunk at all.

    Does anyone have a link to Frank Straub's report on this matter, or more insight? Am I correct that the blood draw was flawed?





Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

Ruth, That was the rumor being spread at the time, but everything I've seen about the manner in which the blood was drawn conformed with the same procedures that would have been followed at the hospital. The person who took the blood draw was about to make the mistake of swabbing the area of the draw with a alcohol but was corrected and that problem avoided. It would have been perfectly fine to do that blood draw at the occupational clinic prior to the enactment of a new law that mandates the blood be drawn at the hospital. Carl Brizzi's office neglected to education IMPD on the new law that had taken effect a short time before the tragic incident occurred. Someone would have had to have switched the blood sample vial that was tested to have produced an inaccurate result for Bisard's alcohol level. There is no reason to believe that occurred.

2011-05-31 17:57:31

Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

That should read "educate", not "education"

2011-05-31 18:00:52

Gary Welsh [unverified] said:

WTHR posted the court's decision. It indicates there was conflicting testimony on the alcohol swab issue such that the court could not conclude one way or another whether the proper procedure was followed.

2011-05-31 18:39:16

ruthholl [Member] said:

Thanks. I will look at the court decision.
All I was told is that it was rare for firefighters to back cops -- no love lost -- but the impression was that Bisard got a raw deal with the blood deal.
Like you, I never saw ANY evidence to support that, nor did I read it anywhere. But it was told to me as "straight scoop."
I appreciate the clarification.
It also was not helpful that IMPD brass was so quick in its rush to judgment, at least not helpful from the police perspective. Lots of mistakes made. Again, messy....

2011-05-31 19:33:45

hendy [Member] said:

The rest of the evidence smells of involuntary manslaughter, but IANAL, and I wasn't there.

2011-05-31 20:34:37

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The IMPD brass rushed to judgment because public opinion was rushing away from Bisard at breakneck speed. Ballard probably told his brass to react quickly.

Those same line officers have almost no faith in their chief or PSD. Straub is an arrogant asshat. If he is correct on this issue, it wouldn't really matter. The thin blue line opinion--an average officer already hates the guy.

Someone can act reasonably well at a crime scene--even if they're drunk. And who could more-easily fake the sobriety than a police officer, who has probably seen every trick in the book?

I can't believe Bisard was sober. Nobody is stupid enough to rush halfway across town at high speeds, pay on a computer with no-IMPD emails, and talk on the radio about the last/next lunch break. Simultaneously.

This was accomplished to "assist" three probation officers "corral" a loose probie. It wasn't needed, it was halfway across town, and the siren/lights dash through danger, cost three families their futures, in one way or another.

And it's odd that this case went randomly to this judge--who has had his share of problems, too, and very publicly.

This mess won't be solved until Bisard is tried in a court of law. It looks like there'll be one less charge on the docket. It matters not. If he's guilty of any crime associated with that horrible crash, he needs to go to prison for as long as possible. Prison isn't very safe for police officers, so it'll likely cost us a ton to segregate him.

But it has already led to departmental procedural changes. It's about damned time.

Much good karma to the three families of injured or killed persons on that day. May they find peace. And may they not have to wait on it through our courts.

Oh yeah--can we eliminate the Public Safety Director job? It's a wasteful duplication of duties. The chiefs of fire, animal control, police and ambulance, can report directly to the mayor, without a filter. And if we're not careful, we'll get another Straub someday. Egads.

2011-05-31 22:28:09

Jason [unverified] said:

Part of where it gets tricky is this is the only (and possibly first) case ever where as a matter of procedure apart from a criminal investigation a blood draw was done after a serious bodily injury/fatality accident and the results came back heavily positive. Bisard wasn't treated like a criminal because they had no reason or right to pursue it as a criminal investigation at that point.

It's hard to believe you could get 70 cops, a few paramedics, a doctor, some firefighters, and random eyewitnesses to participate in any kind of coverup.

It's also hard to believe a system could be so indescribably broken that it would produce a blood draw that contradicts virtually every other fact of the case.

It was also hard to believe that an attorney would be shameless enough to parade a "witness" in front of the news who claimed to have seen Bisard purchase alcohol the day before all the while knowing it's not true, and that reporters were trying to pull Bisard's kids out of middle school during the day to get a statement.

There was sloppy policework abound, to include letting Bisard's car sit at an unsecure lot for 3 months before someone realized it (and it's contents) were supposed to be evidence given the brass' interpretation. No accountability or punishment doled out for that oversight. Demoting a few of the competent (i.e. respected and above-board) members of the command staff went a long way to fuzzying up the picture, along with the uncomfortable interview where the Chief contradicted his own logic a few times. Why they at a minimum didn't point out that every cop has at least 3 or 4 'black bags' of issued equipment in their trunk is beyond me.

Mr. Welsh is correct in that MCPO receives a grant from NHTSA to keep everybody up to date on new laws and procedures, or at least that's the WOS.

If you do get hold of a report with Straub's name on it, it's probably worthwhile to determine which one it is and which revision of which copy it is.

And I can't believe I went through this whole post without mentioning the Wells family. Shame on me.

2011-05-31 22:38:19

ruthholl [Member] said:

Jason, glad to see your comments here and your clarifications; I was hoping you would weigh in.
What was found in the car that Bisard drove? What constitutes 3 or 4 black bags worth of issued equipment?
Is this a reference to the allegation that booze was in the vehicle? But it was not, correct?
Do you think the blood draw genuinely bad, or technically bad? In other words, was Mr. Bisard NOT impaired, and the .19 a false reading (if so why such a high reading? Did the tech screw up?) or was the blood draw bad because of the language of the law -- has to be drawn by the right technician etc.
As my son says, this is a christless mess. And you are right to invoke the Wells family. Again, condolences. The city has put them thru even more of a wringer, in my view, by its rush to judgment. Shame on those who made those decisions.

2011-06-01 06:28:56

Essy [unverified] said:

Didn?t know the forum rules alwloed such brilliant posts.

2011-06-10 17:32:17

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