Demoted IMPD officers speak at council meeting


Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Three high-ranking commanders demoted after a deadly crash involving a Metro Police officer are telling their side of the story.

Former Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce, former Chief Deputy Chief Ron Hicks and former Commander John Conley say they did what they were supposed to do the day IMPD Officer David Bisard crashed into a group of motorcyclists, killing Eric Wells and critically injuring two others.

"We followed the protocols and the practices of this police department. We followed them to a T," said Conley.

All three demoted officers testified before the City-County Council's Law Enforcement Commission Wednesday night, saying they went to the scene when they got an executive page about the crash.

"No one told us we needed to go or had to go to the scene. We went because we were concerned and that's what a true leader does," said Pierce.

None of them said they had any reason to believe Bisard had been drinking that day.

"I asked him how he was doing. He was very upset, very remorseful as to what happened. He was very coherent. Understood totally what was going on," said Conley.

"I did not smell alcohol on Officer Bisard's person, nor observe any mannerisms that indicated he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs," said Pierce.

They also talked about the black bag Bisard removed from his car after the crash. That bag became the object of much speculation after Bisard's blood alcohol level came back at .19. Those results were later thrown out due to where the blood draw was conducted.

"The items removed from Officer Bisard's vehicle were not considered evidence at the time because nobody had reasonable suspicion of probable cause to believe a crime had been committed," said Hicks.

The officers testified the decision was made to take Bisard to Methodist Occupational Health Clinic for a blood draw was not part of a elaborate cover-up, but because the crash victims and their families were at Methodist Hospital.

One council member said the officers version of events differed from what the chief and public safety director have said about that day.

"Perjury is out there. I'm convinced of that," said William Oliver, City-County Council. "Some of the testimony perhaps was not credible. Which side it was on, we don't know yet."

Next week, the entire City-County Council will decide if Public Safety Director Frank Straub, who's also under fire for his handling of the Bisard crash, should have his contract renewed. A council panel has already recommended renewal.