Report: No criminal intent in handling of Bisard blood vial
The FBI says it can't find any evidence of criminal intent when someone improperly moved a critical blood sample from a police officer involved in a fatal accident.
The blood was taken from Metro Police Officer David Bisard, who is accused of being more than twice the legal limit drunk at the time he ran into a group of bikers, killing Eric Wells and injuring Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly.
But what was found is another embarrassment to the city.
"It's exposed a glaring weakness. No question about it," said FOP President Bill Owensby.
The FBI found no criminal intent, or reason to investigate the mishandling of a second vial of blood drawn from Bisard after the fatal crash in August 2010.
In April, the prosecutor's office discovered that vial had been improperly stored in a room at the training academy for eight months, despite court orders to preserve all evidence. IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski stepped down as a result and Public Safety Director Dr. Frank Straub called in federal investigators.
"What caused us to take action and initiate the investigation and ask the FBI to come in was the movement of this vial out of a refrigerator to an un-refrigerated annex," Straub said back in April.
Instead of investigating corruption, the FBI found IMPD's own lack of evidence procedures the real culprit. According to the just-released Professional Standards report, IMPD lacked clear policies and procedures, inadequate supervision and failed to properly safeguard the evidence.
Investigators discovered the property room has no storage or handling protocols for blood evidence, only outdated and poorly constructed guidelines. And worst yet, neither the property room's civilian personnel nor its IMPD commander were properly trained in evidence handling or property room management.
"The families of the victims and the victims themselves have got to be just beside themselves. I mean, I don't blame them for not having any confidence in the police department. We're not making ourselves look very good here," admitted Owensby.
Straub would not answer any questions, but said in a statement:
"This incident shows the continued need to update and modernize IMPD policies, procedures, and practices. A few simple steps, management oversight, and training could have prevented this unfortunate error from happening."
The report says the envelope containing the second vial was not properly marked, but the seal on the vial itself was never broken.
Bisard's Attorney, John Kautzman, wants the second vial ruled inadmissible.
"This evidence is flawed. It is not accurate. He was not intoxicated that day and we think this kind of evidence further underscores the fact that he's not guilty of these charges," Kautzman said.
The Bisard Report was sent out to all IMPD law enforcement today.
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has also reviewed the findings and provided this statement:
"We have been assured that the property room practices are being addressed to make certain that there will not be similar problems in the future. We will continue with the prosecution of the case against Officer David Bisard."