Public safety director responds to calls for resignation


Thursday update: Public Safety Director Frank Straub issued this statement in response to ministers calling for his resignation:

"Director Straub is committed to making the Department of Public Safety and the IMPD the best in the nation, and will continue leading the Department toward that goal."

Indianapolis - The mayor of Indianapolis is responding after several community leaders called for the public safety director to resign.

The demand for Frank Straub to step down comes in the wake of new evidence which calls into question what city leaders were doing on the day of a deadly crash involving an IMPD officer.

It's "the director of public safety, Dr. Straub, who needs to go," said Pastor Stephen Clay, Messiah Missionary Baptist Church.

Pastor Stephen Clay led an afternoon news conference calling for the resignation of the city's fairly new public safety director. The resignation request comes after the botched investigation and fallout after the Officer David Bisard police car crash.

Clay called on "the mayor of the City of Indianapolis to terminate effective immediately the public safety director, Dr. Frank Straub."

Bisard reportedly crashed his cruiser into two motorcycles August 6th killing one and injuring two others. Straub, hired by Mayor Greg Ballard, demoted three high-ranking police officials who all responded to the crash scene. But community leaders cited news reports which explained why they left the scene.

Channel 13 obtained a copy of on-scene phone calls, along with an email from Police Chief Paul Ciesielski ordering one of them to his office by 1:00 pm.

Community leaders believe Straub ordered Ciesielski to call them in for a meeting on Straub's image.

"It seems Dr. Straub's primary concern seem to be to protect his image," said Pastor Clay.

Among those calling for Straub's resignation are Pastor Jeffrey Johnson, State Representative Bill Crawford and Indianapolis NAACP president Chrystal Ratcliffe along with city-county councilors.

But Mayor Ballard believes firing Straub is not the answer.

"There are a lot of people asking for a lot of things quickly. But I want the investigation to play out. I think it is extremely important that we let it play out," Ballard said. "I think the families really deserve to have the facts played out on an independent basis. That's why we brought in the FBI.  That's what's most important to me."

Ballard expects clearer decisions once the Bisard crash investigation is complete, which he estimates could take another four to six weeks. 

George Burt, the only biker who walked away from the August 6 crash, has also heard the calls for Ballard to fire Straub.

"I've got to say yeah, he's got to step down," Burt said. "He's failed. I think he's failed his mayor."

And Burt wonders what's coming next.

"Every day, something different is popping up," he said. "One of (the officers) should have stood up and said, 'Hey, we're staying here. We're doing this. We're going to make sure everything gets taken care of that needs to be taken care of."

At the end of the day for George Burt, it's about the friend he lost in Eric Wells and the two others still fighting their way back from critical injuries.

"I'm not hurting like the Mills family, the Weekly family or the Wells family," he said. "I'm walking around and breathing. I'm not hurt physically."

Burt calls it a kind of pain you can't see on the outside, but the kind that comes back every time there is a new development in the case. It's the kind of pain that he says keeps him up at night.

"I've gotta live with this the rest of my life."

(Steve Jefferson and Emily Longnecker contributed to this story.)