Movement of Bisard blood sample violated court order

A blood sample from Officer David Bisard was moved from an IMPD property room.

The movement of a blood sample from IMPD Officer David Bisard that ultimately led to the resignation of the police chief violated a court order.

All blood evidence is stored in the basement of the City County Building downtown. It is the only place equipped with refrigerators. The court order regarding the evidence stated that the blood samples have to be secured and maintained.

There is no question on how procedures are to be followed, directions are plastered on the wall of the property room where the samples were supposed to be kept. But someone took the vials from an evidence refrigerator halfway across town to a regular, unrefrigerated storage area at the police annex on Post Road.

"We don't know if that was something intentional or some massive mistake. We don't know," said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub said he knows who took the vials and when - the question is, "Why?"

"We have to stop talking about this. These types of instances have to stop happening," Straub said.

Now, trust in anything related to public safety in the City of Indianapolis is in serious trouble.

"But we have to stop blowing ourselves up," Straub said.

Straub says he is not to blame and accepted the resignation of IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski and placed two other officers and a civilian employee on paid administrative leave, saying this incident is part of a systemic problem.

"This is 30, 40, 50 years of neglect and what I have heard from the management of this police department for the two years and four months that I have been here is, 'we knew this was going on, we just never bothered to fix it,'" said Straub.

Mayor Greg Ballard is again apologizing to the victims' families and Straub is facing more criticism for another incident under his leadership.

"Reform is a difficult process. Doing things the same way we have always done them is unacceptable, because clearly, outside consultants and I and others have demonstrated over and over and over again that the policies and practices of this department need to change," Straub said.

A blood draw indicated Bisard was more than twice the legal limit for drunk driving. But the way that blood was taken on the day of the accident went against state law.  An internal IMPD investigation determined that the initial investigation was botched. 

This latest twist puts the state's case against Bisard in jeopardy, and it's unclear why that second blood sample was moved from the refrigerated location downtown to the evidence room on Post Road.

"We don't know if that was something intentional," Curry said, "or whether it was just some massive mistake.  We don't know.  But clearly, to the extent that there's a fair amount of cynicism about the way the Bisard case has been handled, this is not the least bit helpful."

Because the Post Road evidence room is not refrigerated, the blood sample may be worthless.  In the coming days, the sample will be sent to a lab in Texas to see if it's still usable.

Ballard says he has asked the FBI to join the professional standards division in the investigation.

Officer Bisard crash investigation