FBI interviews demoted IMPD commanders

From left: Darryl Pierce, Ron Hicks, John Conley

Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - The FBI interviewed three former Metro Police top commanders Tuesday who were demoted as a result of the David Bisard crash investigation. A number of others have also been questioned as part of that federal probe which came at the request of the mayor.

The FBI is looking into every aspect of the Bisard crash: who knew what at what time, and did police at the scene try to cover anything up?

"I do not believe there was a cover-up," said attorney Robert Turner, former director of public safety. Turner is currently representing Lt. Darryl Pierce, the former assistant police chief demoted as a result of the Bisard crash.

Turner thinks the FBI may find that mistakes were made during the accident investigation, but that's it. Motorcyclist Eric Wells was killed and two others were critically injured when Officer Bisard crashed into them on August 6th. Police say he was drunk at the time.

"There's no benefit for a chief or anyone else to cover this up. What is he going to gain by doing that? He's going to lose his career and possibly go to jail and he's not going to gain anything," said Turner.

Mayor Greg Ballard, who this past weekend announced a series of new rules for IMPD officers including mandatory breathalyzers at all police-involved crash scenes, wanted an unbiased opinion about exactly what happened during the Bisard investigation. That's why he says he called in the FBI.

"I'm waiting for the investigation to end so I can get a clear picture of what happened. I don't want to interfere with it. I just need to understand what happened," said the mayor.

Still not knowing what happened is exactly why Turner says former Assistant Chief Pierce and Deputy Chiefs Ron Hicks and Commander John Conley never should have been demoted.

"If there's something that turns up or one of those chiefs did something wrong, fine. But right now, I just don't see that. That's equivalent to sending someone to jail before they go to trial," said Turner.

Turner is demanding that Lt. Darryl Pierce be reinstated as assistant chief with back pay. The FOP president says if the FBI determines, as he also believes, there was no cover-up, all three demoted men should get their ranks and positions back.