The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an officer's injury at a 2008 fundraiser for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.The timing of this investigation is quite interesting. Nobody at IMPD cared about this story that everyone else in the deparment seemed to know about for the past two years until now that Brizzi has become mired in an FBI investigation into whether his office sold lenient plea deals to his business partner's clients. Suddenly, some Republican leaders had a conversion on the road to Damascus and want Brizzi gone now. While they're investigating this incident, will IMPD also investigate the wrecked Viper car belonging to Tim Durham that Brizzi also was reportedly not driving at the time it was crashed?
Detective Steven Buchanan, a member of Brizzi's security detail, wound up with a broken wrist and bruised knee after a golf cart carrying him and Brizzi flipped at the Ironwood Golf Club on Oct. 10, 2008.
A police report filed at the time says Buchanan was behind the wheel at around 1 p.m. when "an unidentified white vehicle" backed out of a parking spot, causing him to swerve and flip the cart.
IMPD's internal affairs unit opened an investigation this month into whether the report accurately describes what happened that Friday afternoon after receiving tips suggesting it does not, said Public Safety Director Frank Straub. The key question is whether Brizzi was driving the cart when it flipped, and if so, why the report says otherwise.
The incident report—filed by Sgt. Michael Thayer, another member of Brizzi's security detail—does not mention Brizzi.
The Republican prosecutor that day was hosting his fifth-annual "Putt with the Prosecutor" golf outing, which started at 8:30 a.m. and featured "St. Elmo shrimp cocktail on course" and a "Ruth's Chris Beverage Station," according to the event invitation. The outing at 10955 Fall Road in Fishers cost $250 per person.
Brizzi did not respond to requests for comment. Neither Buchanan nor Thayer could be reached.
UPDATE: It seems Brizzi is now fessing up to being the driver of the golf cart that overturned according to the Star. Asked who was driving during a phone interview last week, Brizzi told The Star: “With catlike reflexes, we avoided getting hit by a car in a parking lot.” “I was driving the cart.”
It also appears overtime pay for the officers charged with protecting Brizzi has cost taxpayers over $100,000 during a period of less than two years according to Schouten. IMPD has moved to reduce the number of overtime hours they are allowed to work and is closely reviewing overtime hours reported. With that much in overtime pay between them, those two officers could have easily earned more than $100,000 a year. Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid is taking a closer look at that issue tonight at 10:00 p.m. Here are some of the details McQuaid offers on what that overtime pay is covering:
March 3, 2009: nine hours overtime to escort Brizzi to his own birthday bash fundraiser at St. Elmo's where he traditionally raised $125,000 for his re-election campaign.
66.5 hours between five detectives last May on race weekend, including three officers -- one of them until 3:30 am -- one night at Tim Durham's house for the Brizzi 500, another fundraiser.
Eight hours until midnight on St. Patrick's Day 2009.
Fifteen hours this year on the day after St. Patrick's Day.
The 500 party on race weekend must be the one where Durham hired Hollywood boy toy Jesse Metcalfe to appear for his standard, large booking fee for such appearances and pretend that he was his friend. Kato Kaelin of O.J. Simpson trial infamy, one of Brizzi's best friends, was there as well.
UPDATE II: Officer Sgt. Mike Thayer has been suspended without pay for one day by IMPD for omitting Brizzi's role in overturning the golf cart and reassigned. He was supervising Officer Steven Buchanan at the time of the incident when Buchanan suffered injuries as a result of the overturned golf cart.