IMPD officer back at work after merit board decision
Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - The Metro police officer accused of beating a 15-year-old was back to work Monday after the merit board cleared him to return to duty. But the teen's attorney says this isn't over yet.
The merit board cleared Officer Jerry Piland to return to the Metro Police force, but he's been taken off the streets and reassigned to the planning section of Homeland Security after he finishes his three days with the professional standards division this week for what the police chief calls remedial training.
"The mayor, myself and the police chief are committed to changing the culture within IMPD. I think one of the worst things I've heard in my 26 years in the profession is when Officer Piland walked out of the merit board hearing and said, 'this is about us' - meaning the police department," said Chief Paul Ciesielski.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub says the merit board was wrong to give Piland his job back, but he says there's nothing he can do about it. There's no appeal process in place, which he says is just one of the things that needs to change.
"Should the process go like it did this time where the first day you meet until five o'clock and the next day you meet until four o'clock in the morning? How do you make good decisions at four o'clock in the morning? That's unacceptable," said Straub.
While Straub is focusing his efforts on moving forward and changing the culture of the Metro Police force, community leaders say there are still issues in this case that need to be addressed, like the other officers who were involved in Brandon Johnson's arrest.
Chief Ciesielski exonerated Officer David Carney, saying he acted appropriately during the incident. Johnson's family agrees. Their attorney is planning to sue the department and each individual officer if a settlement can't be reached with the city.
The public safety director says Piland could still end up losing his job if the Department of Justice chooses to take up the case and if Piland is convicted in that criminal trial.
Frank Straub says Piland could still end up losing his job if the Department of Justice chooses to take up the case and if Piland is convicted in that criminal trial. The Department of Justice has not given word on any action they plan to take in that regard.