• Mishandling of blood evidence has led to the resignation of the Chief IMPD

    April 18, 2012 No comments

    Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski has stepped down after it was discovered that a second vial of blood drawn shortly after the crash involving suspended police officer David Bisard was mishandled by police. 

    Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Frank Straub said during a news conference on Tuesday that the vial had been mishandled in the police property room and that the FBI was being brought in to investigate possible criminal intent. 

    Straub said it was recently discovered that the second vial of Bisard’s blood that was taken after the August 2010 crash had been transferred to the property annex room at the police academy in November 2011, where it was not properly refrigerated. 

    The vial remained there until early this month, when the move was discovered, and the vial was then returned to refrigeration. 

    Ballard said that Ciesielski resigned as chief once the mishandling was discovered and that Deputy Chief Valerie Cunningham, who oversaw the internal Bisard investigation, stepped down as the head of the department’s Professional Standards Division and has been placed on administrative leave.

    Lt. Paula Irwin and the Teresa Brockbrader, a civilian employee, have also been placed on administrative leave. 

    Bisard was on duty when he struck motorcyclists stopped at a red light on Aug. 6, 2010, killing Eric Wells and injuring Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills. 

    A blood test administered about two hours after the crash showed that Bisard had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.19 percent. 

    Bisard was charged with seven felonies, but former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi withdrew alcohol-related charges because he doubted the evidence would be admissible in court because standard procedures weren’t followed in the way the evidence was procured.

    A judge ruled in May 2011 that blood-alcohol evidence could not be used to bring charges of drunken driving but ruled later that it could be used to support a charge of criminal recklessness. 

    Last week, a Marion County judge ruled that prosecutors could test a second vial of Bisard’s blood drawn shortly after the crash, which is when the mishandling was discovered.

    Rick Hite, who spent 32 years with the Baltimore Police Department in Maryland and has worked as a consultant in Indianapolis, has been named interim police chief.

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