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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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