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IMPD investigates Brizzi golf cart incident

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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.

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.

Straub said he expects the investigation could wrap up as soon as this week.

"When we find out what happened or didn't happen, we'll proceed accordingly," he said.

The probe is another headache for Brizzi, who has drawn fire in recent months for his business dealings while in office including a real estate partnership with a defense attorney whose clients received favorable plea deals.

In a separate move, IMPD has cut back overtime hours allowed for members of Brizzi's security detail, one of the department's most prolific overtime producers. The move is part of a department-wide effort to rein in overtime, Straub said.

Officers working Brizzi's security detail from 2008 through March 2010 logged at least 2,465 overtime hours, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s tabulation of hundreds of overtime vouchers. That adds up to about $100,000 in extra pay. IBJ and Indiana Lawyer are IBJ Media publications.

The officers, assigned to the Prosecutor's Office Grand Jury unit, drive Brizzi all day, including to the gym, the Prosecutor's Office and to evening functions.

New requests for overtime are being reviewed by Deputy Chief William Benjamin, who is looking at whether requested Grand Jury overtime hours are for Brizzi's security detail or for actual investigations, Straub said.

"My issue is making sure the taxpayers are getting the services they deserve for the expenditure of those hours," he said.

An overtime voucher for Buchanan, the officer who was injured after being thrown from the golf cart, shows he worked from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. that day, picking up five hours of overtime.
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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