Demoted IMPD officials file tort claim over Bisard investigation


Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - Two Indianapolis Metro Police officials who were demoted after the investigation into a fatal crash involving an IMPD officer are now filing a lawsuit against the police department.

Former chief Ron Hicks and Commander John Conley are putting the city on notice that they plan to file a tort claim asking for $700,000 each.

Hicks, Conley and former Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce were demoted for their roles in the investigation of an August 6 crash involving Officer David Bisard. Eric Wells died in the crash and two other motorcyclists he was riding with were critically injured. Bisard faces several charges in connection with the crash, but drunk driving charges were dropped because of a botched blood draw.

Eyewitness News last reported on Hicks and Conley when they testified alongside Pierce before the City-County Council. They were answering publicly for the first time what happened on the scene of the crash.

The three were demoted for what the chief and public safety director called a failure of leadership, and were blamed for not preserving critical evidence on the scene.

Now in an 11-page tort attorney representing Hicks and Conley and their wives say, "Chief Paul Ciesielski and Director Frank Straub, in an effort to deflect from themselves criticism and individual responsibility and accountability for any perceived failure in the Bisard investigation, made a series of false statements...with reckless disregard...and acted with actual malice and did immeasurable and irreparable damage to the reputations..of the officers."

Conley, Hicks and each of their wives are seeking the maximum $700,000 each. It's the first time the wives of the officers have filed suit as well.

Former Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce, who was demoted back to his permanent rank of lieutenant, filed a tort claim against the city in December.

We have calls into the city for comment. This story will be updated.

See the tort claim here.