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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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