Ministers Appeal To Mayor To Fire Public Safety Director

Group: Straub More Concerned With Salvaging Image

A group of Indianapolis ministers are appealing to Mayor Greg Ballard for the firing of the public safety director after the botched investigation into the fatal crash involving Officer David Bisard.

Members of the Baptist Ministers Alliance on Wednesday hand delivered a letter to the mayor's office, asking "to terminate, effective immediately, Public Safety Director Frank Straub."

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Bisard, a nine-year veteran, was on duty when he struck a group of motorcyclists stopped at a red light Aug. 6, killing Eric Wells, 30, and injuring Kurt Weekly, 44, and Mary Mills, 47.

The ministers alliance told 6News' Tanya Spencer that Straub lacks the support internally and in the community to do his job effectively.

"Repeated apologies and declarations from the public safety director to, 'Trust us because we are a transparent organization,' now falls on deaf ears," said the Rev. Stephen Clay, president of the ministers alliance.

They said they're also outraged at media reports that two, high-ranking officers were called away from the fatal crash to work on a news conference to preserve Straub's image.

The group called the two officers, who were demoted in the wake of the botched investigation, scapegoats, citing a lack of leadership at the top.

"It appears that while Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly were bring rushed to the hospital, and Eric Wells lay dying at the scene, the public safety director was meeting, trying to salvage his public image," Clay said.

Democratic City-County Councilors Brian Mahern and Maggie Lewis, along with Melina Kennedy, a Democratic candidate for mayor, have also publicly called for Straub's firing.

They want the Council to review the investigation into the crash, a move the ministers said they also support.

Straub has previously dismissed calls for his resignation.

Ballard said Wednesday he doesn't want to rush to judgment and will wait for the results of an FBI investigation before making any decisions.

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"I would like a lot of the drama to stop, on all levels, to be honest with you," Ballard told 6News' Joanna Massee. "There's a lot of things surrounding it. I want people to calm down. I know that's hard to say right now, but I want the facts to play out. We need to get the investigation done so everybody knows."

He said he's told the investigation could be complete in four to six weeks

Alcohol-related charges against Bisard were dropped after a judge ruled that proper procedures weren't followed in the investigation. He is charged with reckless homicide and criminal recklessness and is suspended pending termination from the department.