Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Was That Bug In Benjamin's Office Inoperable?

I'm picking up conflicting signals (no pun intended) on whether the surveillance device found in IMPD Deputy Chief William Benjamin's office was actually inoperable at the time it was discovered. A source tells me the bug was "active" and had a "range under 50 feet." I'm also told by a source that a number of offices in the City-County building were swept over the Labor Day weekend for other hidden surveillance devices. IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski and Public Safety Director Paul Straub first denied any involvement in planting the bug in Benjamin's office. A day later, Ciesielski issued a statement to the media indicating the device was "inoperable" and had been left behind by a prior occupant of Benjamin's office.

Public Safety Director Frank Straub appeared before the ROYAL ORDER OF INDIANAPOLIS, also known as the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, a taxpayer-financed nonprofit that secretly plots deals to personally enrich a handful of downtown elites and their clients, to discuss his plans to clean up IMPD. He was asked about his accountability for the botched fatal DUI case of Officer David Bisard and, not surprisingly, said the blame laid with former Assistant IMPD Chief Darryl Pierce and Deputy Chief Ron Hicks, both of whom were summoned to leave the accident scene to return to IMPD headquarters to prepare for an afternoon press conference intended to bolster Straub's sagging public image. Both men were later demoted for failing to inform Chief Ciesielski of the "gravity of the situation" and "taking charge" of the investigation. The Star's Jon Murray shares these words from Straub today on the matter:

"What people failed to recognize is the gravity," Straub said. "This was much worse than a police-action shooting. ... Every single resource the department had to bear should have been brought to that scene so it could be investigated."

When I asked Straub whether he and Ciesielski shared some responsibility for failing to recognize the gravity in the immediate aftermath -- the incident occurred on a Friday morning, just before the noon newscasts, after all -- Straub took exception. "We had the second-highest ranking member of the department at the scene," he said, adding that former Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce failed to impress upon his superiors the magnitude of the situation. "I just knew (at the time) that there was a fatal accident involving an officer," Straub said.

So Straub and Ciesielski knew Officer Bisard's cruiser smashed into a group of motorcyclists, killing one person and seriously injuring two others. What part of that communication could Straub or Ciesielski have possibly deemed less important than plotting out a way to bolster Straub's public image? Am I missing something here? What more could Pierce or Hicks communicated to the two men that would have brought the point home more? It's already been rehashed on numerous occasions that multiple police officers on the scene investigating the accident did not detect alcohol impairment with Bisard. You call them away from the scene to help with your public image and then blame them for not doing their jobs? Give me break.

UPDATE: Several people have wondered  who occupied Benjamin's office prior to him because Ciesielski claimed the bugging device had been left their by a prior occupant of the office. As a Deputy Chief, Benjamin is in charge of investigations. When Mayor Ballard first reorganized IMPD after taking the reins, he promoted City-County Councilor Lincoln Plowman to major and placed him in charge of investigations. Plowman resigned in disgrace earlier this year after news reports surfaced that he had been nabbed in an FBI undercover bribery investigation. Nearly a year earlier, though, he had been removed from investigations without explanation and reassigned to the administration division. I haven't been able to confirm whether he ever occupied the office in which Benjamin is currently located. Anyone else find it strange that nothing has ever become of the Plowman investigation?


Bart Lies said...

I found the Chief's words (in a TV news interview separate from this written statement) acknowledging the bug to be rather peculiar. He didn't say the bug was inoperative when found, but that it was inoperative when he saw it.

Am I parsing too severely or was it a carefully-crafted statement that spun the actual events just a tad?

anonymous said...

At this stage of the game, I wouldn't believe anything Ciesielski or Straub said.

Straub was sickening in his attempt to BS his way past Channel 8's Deanna Dewberry today. He h-a-s to know that everyone knows he's lying. He and his Chief remind me of a couple housecats in the litter-box, pawing at the litter, trying frantically to cover up their shit.

My heart goes out to the many honorable, professional officers on IMPD who have to live through this political avalanche. The partisan political angle reminds me of the Dems and media using the infamous "downtown brawl" to muddy up Goldsmith's run for U.S. Senate. And years before that the same self-serving partisan circus when the Dems and media used Mary Martin's supposed bordello to dirty Lugar's first run for Senate.

If Mayor Ballard wants to not move on anything until the full investigation is done, then I guess I can respect him for not allowing the media, the bikers and the shakedown artists from the concerned clergy to stampede him one way or another. But once that's over, if he doesn't axe Straub and the Chief I will be REALLY disappointed. If it weren't for the specter of handing control of the C-C council back over to Monroe Gray and his huckster pals, I'd be far less patient with Straub's insulting lies, the Chief's prime allegiance to covering for his benefactor (Straub) and the Mayor's inaction.

IndyDem said...

Its like a movie.. You just cant make this stuff up.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Ask Scott Robinette.