Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pike Township Police Officer Not Immune From Drunk Driving Arrest

Brian Hedger
A police officer for the Pike Township school district and part-time officer for Cadiz Police Department in Henry County has been arrested for drunk driving after a state trooper clocked him driving 113 mph in a 55 mph zone on I-70. Brian Hedger, 33, of Camby declined to take a field sobriety test or a blood alcohol test. A warrant was issued for a blood draw after Hedger was taken to the Marion County adult processing center early this morning. His test results are pending.

There's still a lot of grumbling within the ranks of IMPD over what some are describing as a cover-up after a private citizen, Austin Joseph, called 911 on the night of December 20, 2014 to complain that an IMPD police car later identified as being driven by Capt. Phil Burton was being driven at high rates of speed in excess of 90 mph in an erratic fashion. Joseph followed Burton's car from the City's far northeast side to downtown where Burton was reporting for roll call at the downtown police district. Several police sources complained to Advance Indiana that top brass within the department covered up evidence Burton drove his car while under the influence of alcohol and falsely reported on Joseph, whom he described as a nut who wouldn't stop following him when contacted by IMPD communications. Police were dispatched to make a traffic stop of Joseph to question him about the incident but were not allowed to stop Capt. Burton.

Advance Indiana on Monday obtained from the Marion Co. Sheriff's Department a CAD record and audio of the related 911 call and the call-outs from dispatch, which confirmed much of what sources told us in January, but only after IMPD stonewalled an earlier request and managed to get the Public Access Counselor to side with it in withholding the records as investigatory records. More than a month ago, Advance Indiana learned from Lori White, head of the Citizens Police Complaint Office that an internal affairs investigation had been launched as a result of Advance Indiana's reporting and inquiries regarding the incident. The audio and CAD records of the incident can be accessed by clicking here and here. The mishandling of the Capt. Phil Burton incident by IMPD is extremely alarming given that the fatal drunk driving collision involving former IMPD Officer David Bisard while on duty that wound up costing Indianapolis taxpayers close to $10 million. The complete disinterest shown by local news media to this matter is very peculiar given the amount of time they devoted to reporting on the Bisard crash and subsequent civil lawsuits and criminal trial.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that the difference between the Pike Township DWI arrest and the failure to follow mandatory procedures in the IMPD Burton matter have anything to do with the fact that the matter was first reported as a white IMPD captain committing the actions and an order allegedly came down to immediatley suspend that captain, but upon learning the captain involved was really a black captain.....well, it all got swept under the rug. All public records requests were improperly denied and you had to find another government body with a relevant record to get the proof!

Anonymous said...

As far as the Pike Twp cop getting busted,It's obvious he felt entitled to do as he pleased. Plus,his refusal to submit to a sobriety test clearly shows he doesn't value his occupation and employment with the departments who employ him.

As far as Capt Burton. Yes,one would think after the Bisard imbroglio IMPD would enact a no tolerance policy. In fact,Chief Hite said after the Bisard verdict that there would be no more tolerance for abhorrent (re:drunken) behavior by officers within the department. It appears that Chief Hite is a liar. This doesn't surprise me. IMPD did everything within their power in a vain attempt to get Bisard off the hook for his reckless and depraved indifference to those sharing the roadways with him on August 6. The SOB still thinks he did nothing wrong and did nothing but act smug during his entire trial. Bisard is an SOB. His enablers are the lowest of the low.

Ballard campaigned on the precept of his mayorship taking control of IMPD and promised accountability upon/within the department. What absolutely pure and unadulterated BS has been foisted upon the citizens of Marion County in recent years.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm not surprised by Hite's actions. His history in Baltimore was well-documented before Ballard named him chief despite his lack of qualifications to hold the job as chief of a major city's police department. What excuses do reporters like Jack Rinehart, Russ McQuaid and Sandra Chapman have for being complicit in the cover up? Reporting is much easier when you rely on IMPD's communications staff to spoon feed press releases to you. The Indianapolis Star's refusal to cover it goes without saying. If the story doesn't fit into the Gannett's agenda, pretend it never happened.

Anonymous said...

I've heard from more than one LE officer say that there's a very,very thin line between being a LEO and a bad guy. I've also heard from more than one former member of IPD personnel that the organization is very,very political. The most qualified do not always rise within the ranks, and those most willing to play the game become the players leading the organization and/or get promoted.

I liken IMPD to a soap opera featuring doctors and nurses filmed within a hospital,Think of it as General Hospital In Blue. While the doctors and nurses are too busy with their political games of one-up-manship,the various assignations,cliquish behavior,the various factions working against one another, underhanded machinations and ambitious maneuvering by those employed by said hospital,the patients are dying and no one cares and/or notices.

It's apparent Capt Burton has friends in important places that seemingly have his back. As far as to why the media is silent? My guess is the media has been asked to back off and quickly complied. I think the majority of local news producers here in town have absolutely no balls and wherewithal to ruffle any feathers. Hell,there's no objective reporting on a lot of subjects in Indianapolis.

It's also worth mentioning how quickly the dispatcher had taken the side of Captain Burton. It makes me wonder how many citizens have reported seeing drunken cops on the roads only to have their calls ignored or treated with a flippant response.

I think this kind of behavior has been going on within LE departments within Marion County for decades. I've known a few characters within the department and these individuals had no business even owning a gun--let alone be employed as LE officers. The games and silly stuff have gone on forever but the names have changed. If not for the advent of cell phones and the internet, would anyone know at all of this latest example of IMPD favoritism/cronyism?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the comments that may ensue, I have absolutely NO respect for IMPD remaining in my being.

I don't care if it is an cop on the street or a moron like Hite running (ruining?) the show. And let's all again thank that bloated ignorant ex soldier for having named another incompetent to a position of power.

And for all you who are thinking of writing how I owe people who "give their lives" to protect me... please, save your electronic ink.

Eric Morris said...

Cops are merely the armed enforcement agents of the state and the media is unfortunately the press release printer for it. Gary is one of the few actual reporters and I appreciate it--hence why I only read him for local news. This whole story that Gary broke would be great fodder for a dissertation--race, cops being above the law the rest of us mundanes must follow, turning the tables on Austin Joseph, and the big media laying down on the job while alternative media eats its lunch.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I think it is important to remember the audio of the exchanges between dispatch and officers in response to the citizen's complaint proves there were police officers who wanted to do the right thing but were not allowed to do their jobs by their superiors.

Eric Morris said...

You are right, Gary, about some of the lower level cops wanting to do the right thing. Sadly, only the worst rise in government. See all your stories about Ballard, Daniels, Pence, Schock, Bosma, ad infinitum!

Anonymous said...

It appears that Cpt Burton has been exhanorated (sp) of all charges.

Anonymous said...

We live in a police state. All of us throughout the nation are under almost constant surveillance. The "war on drugs" and other BS campaigns are nothing more than expensive ruses to keep a tight lid on citizens both lawful and unlawful.
Law and order are big business. The city will have its criminal justice center because the powers that be want it regardless of whether or not it is needed.