Former IMPD assistant chief plans to file suit over demotion

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Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - A former assistant chief with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department plans to take legal action against the city for what happened to him after the deadly crash involving Officer David Bisard.

Along with two other officials, IMPD's former Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce was demoted Aug. 21st in the wake of the fatal crash involving Officer Bisard. Now he's fighting back.

"Today's demotions are about failed leadership at the scene. They didn't take command and manage the scene properly, nor did they keep their bosses adequately informed about the gravity of the situation," said Public Safety Director Frank Straub on Aug. 21st.

In a five-page tort claim, Pierce is putting Mayor Greg Ballard, Public Safety Director Frank Straub and Chief Paul Ciesielski all on notice of a pending lawsuit, alleging slander, humiliation, loss of income and civil rights violations.

In the notice, Pierce says he spoke with Ciesielski eight separate times from approximately 11:36 am to 12:35 pm the day Bisard crashed his cruiser into a group of motorcyclists, killing 30-year old Eric Wells.

Pierce says he only left the scene because of an order by his bosses to attend a mandatory meeting at 1:00 pm.

For the first time, we're getting a look into the timeline of upper command communications.

Pierce says he alerted Ciesielski at noon that "he had seen an ambulance traveling south on Arlington Avenue and assumed it contained victims of the accident and based upon his observations...and the amount of blood on the scene, it did not look good."

Two minutes later: "Pierce contacted the police chaplain, met with Deputy Chief Ron Hicks and Major John Conley, and was informed that Fatal Accident Crash Team 6 had been summoned."

"Pierce also insured that an FOP Representative and the Post team had been requested per Chief Ciesielski's directive."

Then at 12:19, "Ciesielski called...asked if Pierce knew the circumstances of Bisard traveling to the scene in emergency status?"

"Ciesielski reminded Pierce not to be late for the one o'clock meeting."

More than ten minutes later, Pierce called Ciesielski and advised him that the civilian victim of the accident was deceased and that Pierce would be leaving the accident scene to attend the 1:00pm meeting."

But before he left that day, "Pierce made final contact with Deputy Chief Hicks and Major John Conley and was informed that Officer Bisard would soon be taken for a blood draw."

That blood draw, which registered .19, was later thrown out of the DUI case against Bisard because of where it was taken.

Pierce acknowledges he spoke with Officer Bisard and observed his movements, but did not see any indicators of alcohol use or intoxication.

The notice does not specify how much Pierce is seeking in damages.

City attorneys do not comment on pending legal actions. Pierce's attorney is expected to speak about the notice on Thursday.