Friday, August 20, 2010

Unbelievable.

Apparently Officer OWI's blood draw had to be tossed because the cops investigating their brother officer's accident (the one in which he mowed down three motorcyclists, killing one and maiming two,) botched the procedure.

As a result, Marion County's chief prosecutor, whose office has a lot of experience handling OWIs, had to toss the drunk driving charges, and is proceeding only on the reckless homicide and criminal recklessness charges.

Perhaps the family of the deceased can come up with some real estate to offer Brizzi in order to ensure a vigorous prosecution on the remaining charges.

28 comments:

Jim said...

Unfortunately, it is all too believable. Many officers believe their first responsibility is to protect their own. Not all, of course. Not even most (I try to give the benefit of the doubt). But even one is too many.

Brigid said...

Most are great, I always looked at Dad and Mom and the pride in which they served, but there isn't a profession out there, including mine, that doesn't have a bad apple. Shame it resulted in the loss of a life.

Anonymous said...

I am highly susspicious the procedure was intentionaly botched. I know thats imposible but the thought is still there.

genedunn said...

I am doubtful the investigating officers screwed this up on purpose... just because (a) it doesn't help their 'buddy' all that much and (b) they have at their disposal much more effective means of tipping the scales of justice (e.g.: using someone else's blood, etc.). Really, the officer's life is screwed and getting the blood evidence (which everyone admits showed him DUI) tossed isn't doing him much of a favor.
Then again, if they are stupid enough to fudge the investigation, I suppose they could be stupid enough to do so poorly.

Firehand said...

Absolutely friggin' amazing.

And, unfortunately, it wouldn't surprise me if they made a 'mistake' deliberately. I've known too many good cops who'd still tend to act to protect a bad one.

Robert Langham said...

We had a Texas DPS trooper driving around shooting at people with a footwell full of empty beer cans. His blood draw was sent to the lab...lost, then returned to the dept smashed flat with the samples ruined.

It's God's mysterious hand at work.

the gripping hand said...

Lord knows I don't have much respect left for Brizzi, but I don't think we can lay this at his doorstep, at least from what I've heard. This seems like a purely IMDP Charlie Foxtrot, or cover-up, or really stupid conspiracy.

Tam said...

the gripping hand,

Definitely this is all on the Greater Indianapolis Metropolitan Police right now, but by the time this circus is over, I predict that the elephants and dancing horses will have left enough dung to smear IMPD, Straub, and Brizzi with an even thicker coating.

Anonymous said...

Probation and about $4.9 mil should cover it. AT

jimbob86 said...

"Many officers believe their first responsibility is to protect their own."

They should be "protecting their own"..... the bad apples (and there are more of them than you think) have simply forgotten who "their own" ARE. I give you Sir Robert Peel:

"The Police are the Public, and the Public are the Police."

Too many of those engaged in Law Enforcement have this idea that "their own" is a group limited to Police officers..... this "us" and "them" is very close to "Us vs. Them" and will all too easily become that at crunch time. Once that happens, an Officer is just a thug with a better equipped, more organized gang.

staghounds said...

1. This is why an agency should NOT investigate its own members whenever possible.

2. I hate to say it, but it is not unbelievable that the officers just assumed the drawer of the blood was from a profession on the list. It may have been the closest medical place, or some other reason.

BUT, I would FOR CERTAIN see if this was an "unusual choice", as Jay G. suggests. It wouldn't be difficult. If this were provably an intentional "error" they ought to be charged.

I HATE public corruption.

BUT,

3. It sounds as though the Chief is doing the right thing, publicly disciplining the boss of the officers who fouled up.

Bubblehead Les. said...

"Richard, I am shocked, shocked to understand you have gambling on the premises!.... Sir, here's your winnings..... Thank You". Betcha the DWI couldn't be plead down like the rest of the charges, so the test was "Botched". Now the story will slowly fade away and several months from now, you might find the plea deal buried on the back pages, behind the Editorials blaming everything on Bush. At least, that's been my experience here in the Cleveland area. But I'm sure there's a stronger lack of tolerance for corruption in Indy, right?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"[T]here isn't a profession out there, including mine, that doesn't have a bad apple."

Unfortunately, I think they tend to cluster.

If you have one bad officer who's been bad for a while, you have to have other officers who aren't reporting him. When one or two tolerate a bad officer, the problem grows as their seniority grows, and they teach new officers to tolerate bad officers. Eventually you hit a critical mass and honest officers are driven out either by other officers or by their own inability to put up with the widespread toleration of corruption. Once that happens, it's a very short journey to the entire department being made up of corrupt officers.

It's probably exacerbated by a reluctance by some to report "minor" infractions for fear of pissing off the bad cop - if you already don't like the idea of someone like that being the one watching your back if the bullets start flying, do you really want to piss them off over something that won't get them fired?

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear someone use the phrase "one bad apple", I find myself compelled to explain the complete aphorism is "One bad apple spoils the barrel". It is not an expression that excuses behavior; rather it is an expression that delivers a warning.

Humans can be evil. We need law enforcement. I fear we may see terrible repercussions from LE agencies not heeding the warning.

Samsam

Anonymous said...

Stag, no, IMPD cops knew the doc in the box was not certified (there are Brizzi e-mails telling Sheriff and Indy cops this years ago).

The cops took him there deliberately to torpedo the case as much as possible. Now that the booze is out, good luck with recklessness!

The judge did not dismiss any charges, Brizzi dismissed.

Shootin' Buddy

alath said...

Sorry, but no way this was unintentional.

The DUI lawyers are all over these kind of procedures, and if there in anything cops know it's how to process a drunk driver to make it nice and lawyer-proof.

If anyone says this was a whoops, I want to see how many non-police DUI cases have been dropped due to improper specimen collection in the past 5 years. If the process only gets botched once, and that once "just happens" to involve one of the participants in the process, I'm calling BS.

Will said...

What? you all act surprised. You expected something different? I may have a bridge You might be interested in purchasing.

Anonymous said...

This is why it's always better to let an outside agency (State Police) handle these things. Big shots save face, lets union officers save face, lets justice run it's true course.

Even if it was a real honest screw up, no one will believe it.

Very sad for everyone

Jeff said...

Sadly I'm not at all surprised that they screwed it up. But then again I live in Vegas and metro is the worst police dept I've ever witnessed in action.

They have been averaging about 1 dead/murdered citizen ever 6 months since I moved out here. They had 2 within a few weeks about a month or so ago.

Anonymous said...

FBI just announced that they are beginning an investigation into IMPD.

Apparently the intentional torpedoing and cover up of the Bisard case was too much even for the feds.

Ferret Face (Brizzi) was just on television telling us how "maybe blood test can be used" for the Reckless Homicide. Yeah, right, FF.

Oh, it just came out that it was not a "felony warrant" but Bisard was going to help serve a misdemeanor warrant.

Way to go GIMPs!

Shootin' Buddy

Ian Argent said...

Sadly I'm not at all surprised that they screwed it up. But then again I live in Vegas and metro is the worst police dept I've ever witnessed in action.

They have been averaging about 1 dead/murdered citizen ever 6 months since I moved out here. They had 2 within a few weeks about a month or so ago.

I blame CSI

Anonymous said...

"This is why it's always better to let an outside agency (State Police) handle these things."

State police...

...are still police.

I'm really not seeing any difference.

Tam said...

Anon. 10:55,

"I'm really not seeing any difference."

The problem with intra-agency is that you run the risk of someone thinking "This isn't just a 'perp', this is Fred. I know him. It wasn't his fault. He's a good guy. Maybe he just made a mistake."

This is why in large corporations, somebody from corporate HQ out of state comes in to do hatchet man work: They need someone that has no emotional investment with the subjects as people.

Anonymous said...

"They need someone that has no emotional investment with the subjects as people."

I see the logic, but I think it no longer applies. They may not see Fred but they will see a Brother in Blue.

It's us they don't recognize as people.

Will said...

I would say one of the problems is the stated merger of the SO and PD.

How is that permitted?

Anyway, there is normally some rivalry between the two groups, so not much of that Blue Line stuff works well in this sort of situation. Checks and balances sort of thing. I've never heard of the SO merging with a police force. Frankly, I can't imagine them giving up their power like that.

Don Meaker said...

The officers who botched the procedure should be investigated, and likely fired. The prosecutor should resign or be impeached. This is functionally murder under color of authority, and destruction of evidence.

Matt G said...

Anonymous at 1:34 AM, August 21, 2010:

"It's us they don't recognize as people."

That's a pretty damned broad brush you're wielding.

Having filed felony charges on a cop this year, and wrestled another one into handcuffs this month, I wonder if you would be willing to consider qualifying your aspersions, just a tad.


I'm furious about this.
I believe that the only answer is to make the discipline heavy and evenly-applied. I believe that the investigating officers need to never investigate another case, and should likely lose their badges over this. Future investigating officers need to be very afraid of violating procedure on a homicide investigation.

I frankly suspect that the scenario was not intentional sabotage, but rather sloppiness and ineptitude by cops who thought that it was simply civil procedure (it's not, and crash investigators should damned well know that), and who thought of the subject of this investigation as the Local Hero, Caught In A Bad Situation, so they didn't want to play the heavies and push the procedure. Truth be told, despite all the conspiracy theories, it's always a better bet to wager on screw-up over evil-ness. But that doesn't make this any better.

That said, if the blood was drawn into a sterile vial, with a non-alcohol prep pad, in the presence of a good witness who will testify in court, then the blood SHOULD be allowed in. Sure, it can be challenged, but dammit, that's still good evidence.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"I frankly suspect that the scenario was not intentional sabotage, but rather sloppiness and ineptitude"

I don't know that I can buy that, Matt. I don't know how IMPD trains, but every cop here, right down to the newest guy on the street, knows that only certain people can do a legal blood-draw, and that it's inadmissible in any criminal case if anyone else does it.

"Truth be told, despite all the conspiracy theories, it's always a better bet to wager on screw-up over evil-ness."

That is usually true, but keep in mind that if you have one bad cop who hasn't been either fired or driven off at the first sign he's bad, you have more bad cops covering for him - because good cops won't put up with it. It's a rot that spreads until it infects the whole department, at which point it's the good cops who don't stay - they won't put up with it, but they can't fix it because the people at the top won't let it get fixed, so they go somewhere else.

Unfortunately, it sounds like this is a bad department.