Friday, September 03, 2010
Deputy Chief William Benjamin's Office Bugged
Fox59 News' Russ McQuaid has an intriguing story tonight about a hidden listening device and tiny camera found in the office of IMPD Deputy Chief William Benjamin. Sources within the police department believe Public Safety Director Frank Straub had the surveillance devices planted in Benjamin's office because he believes he is a key source of dissension within the ranks of the police department to the control Straub is exercising over the police department. Straub and IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski deny placing the surveillance equipment discovered in Benjamin's office, but a source tells me a tip from a past associate of Straub's led to the decision to sweep Benjamin's office this week. The New York source warned dissidents of Straub's within the department to check for bugs "because that's how Straub operates." That tip led to an intelligence expert being brought into Benjamin's office to sweep it for listening devices this week and the discovery of the device in Benjamin's desk.
Police sources earlier told me Straub had told an elected official of his intent to fire Benjamin and was looking for dirt on him. I'm told Benjamin, who is on vacation this week, and others believe Straub may have been behind the confrontation in Benjamin's office with State Trooper Wayne Billings, who came to Benjamin's office in plain clothes and accused him of sending him text messages about an alleged affair Billings was said to have been having with a female clerk of courts. I'm told Benjamin denies sending any text messages to Billings. When Billings attempted to leave Benjamin's office without identifying himself, Benjamin asked Maj. Boomershine, according to an earlier report by WRTV's Jack Rinehart, to detain him, at which time Billings reportedly reached for his concealed sidearm. Boomershine is alleged to have disarmed Billings, who was briefly detained for questioning when IMPD learned his identity and discovered a hidden recording device on him.
McQuaid identifies police sources as telling him Straub asked the FBI to investigate Benjamin and Boomershine for violating Billings' civil rights; however, Straub denies he asked the FBI to investigate the incident. Both Benjamin and Boomershine are seeking the assistance of the FOP's legal counsel with the investigation. According to the Star, an internal investigation is being opened to investigate who planted the hidden camera and listening device in Benjamin's office. The Indiana State Police, which is also investigating the incident between Benjamin and Billings, says it did not plant the devices. An FBI spokesman would not confirm or deny it had planted the devices, but told the Star that they could have been planted by any number of sources, including IMPD's internal affairs. Suffice it to say, there is a war underway between high-ranking officers at IMPD and Public Safety Director Frank Straub.