Crash victim's family presses city for answers
Indianapolis - The family of a motorcyclist struck and killed by a Metro Police officer says they're fed up with city officials who they say have not been transparent about the investigation.
The family of 30-year-old Eric Wells believes that IMPD Officer David Bisard was drunk when he plowed into a group of motorcycles at an Indianapolis intersection August 6th, killing Wells and critically injuring two others, Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly.
Standing beside a banner in memory of their son Eric, Aaron and Mary Wells called on city officials to release information into the investigation of IMPD Officer David Bisard.
"Truth is all we ask for and justice to follow. And we have not received either," Aaron Wells said.
While police said Bisard was drunk during the on-duty crash, a DUI charge was dismissed. Last week, prosecutors said they intend to re-introduce blood-alcohol evidence, but as part of their reckless homicide case, not a separate DUI charge.
"There are two standards of justice here in the city. One for the police and those who supervise them and one for the rest of us," said Aaron Wells.
"They have not treated us like victims, they have treated us like nobodies. There is no compassion for us as far as, 'The Wells family needs to know, let's let them know what's going on'," said Eric's mother, Mary Wells.
Aaron Wells took Fraternal Order of Police President Bill Owensby to task for saying last week that he expected the investigation to conclude that Bisard showed no signs of impairment. Owensby told the media that the FBI investigation had been concluded and sent to the Department of Justice, although the FBI said otherwise.
"I anticipate that it is going to say that everybody who came in contact with Bisard that day from civilian to medical to uniform personnel noticed no signs of impairment," said Owensby last week.
"I would expect Sgt. Owensby to say nothing less than the police who he represents are all innocent. That would include him as well. It is to my understanding that Sgt. Owensby was one of those officers at the Methodist clinic when Bisard's blood was drawn," Aaron Wells said Monday.
Aaron Wells wondered how Owensby knew the contents of the report "when we have not been provided with the same information."
"It is to our understanding that the investigations were indeed completed two and a half weeks ago and a report has been sitting on the desk of Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub, who has refused to release the report due to the ongoing investigation. According to Mr. Straub, he will not release the report until mid-November. We know that any ongoing investigation is not into the conduct of those officers involved but how to maneuver the information he releases. That must coincide with whatever the US Department of Justice findings are," Wells said.
Wells paused several times when he referred to his son, struggling to restrain his emotions.
"Sitting on a report related to Eric's death for over a month is unconscionable. The fact that the police union representative has had a preview of the report and information from other police which has not been shared with us at the same time is unfathomable. Our son was killed. The police are living. Our son was killed and we want to know why the investigation was and continues to be mismanaged. Our son was killed three months ago. Yet no one from the city has answered our questions," he said.
The family chastised Straub for not releasing details of an internal investigation. They repeated Monday that they believe the city is engaged in a cover-up of the crash and that city leaders, including Mayor Greg Ballard and Prosecutor Carl Brizzi have failed in their handling of the situation.
Meanwhile, Eric Wells' parents and widow have filed a lawsuit seeking a total of $3.8 million in damages from the city.
Monday, Straub says the probe isn't over. He issued the following statement Monday:
"The Director is reviewing documents associated with IMPD investigation of the Bisard incident. The investigation is ongoing, so the report is not finished.
As you are aware, the IMPD typically does not release investigative reports regarding professional standards investigations. However, because of the nature of the Bisard incident, the Director will release a public report with findings in the middle of November.
The Director's office has no further comments until the investigation is completed and the report is released in November."