Ex-DPW chief files defamation lawsuit against city employees

(WISH Photo)
(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An exclusive I-Team 8 investigation is uncovering strong allegations against police and prosecutors in the handling of the arrest of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer David Bisard. 

I-Team 8 got details of a new lawsuit from one of their own.

The claims come from a former chief in the city’s Department of Public Safety who was in charge of overseeing the internal investigation into the Bisard case, the officer now convicted of driving drunk and hitting three motorcyclists in 2010. Now she is fighting back naming names.

In what became widely known as “The Corcella Report,” Ellen Corcella investigated the second vial of David Bisard’s blood. In particular, that it had been kept unrefrigerated for months and was potentially compromised. The former New York federal prosecutor says in her time as the chief of professional standards with the Department of Public Safety, she uncovered alleged corruption within IMPD and was fired.

DEPUTY PROSECUTOR NAMED

Now Corcella is filing suit against Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson who she says made “false and defamatory statements,” specifically accusing Corcella of “secretly recording a phone conversation and an in-person meeting.”

Corcella spoke exclusively with I-Team 8 in September.

“I did not secretly record conversations with the prosecutor. I had been informed by the detectives they had made a call to the prosecutor, they had her on the phone and they asked if I wanted to come up to their offices. I did. When I came in, one of the detectives pulled out a recording machine. I didn’t say stop. But I didn’t tell them to do it either,” she said.

Officials say it is not illegal to record a conversation.

IMPD OFFICER NAMED

The suit names IMPD Officer Kevin Wethington for accusing Corcella of “..ordering him to go to the internal affairs office at night and retrieve files from two prior investigations.” Also that he claims she ordered him to “…secure and remove the entire Bisard file”.

Corcella denies both.

PROSECUTOR NAMED

Also named is Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry who stated she “…mishandled an investigation of the Bisard vial blood evidence, and that she was reckless and irresponsible in the course of the investigation.”

At issue: No one had physically looked to see if the second vial was in evidence.

“Nobody had eyeballed the interior of that envelope,” she said.

So, Corcella and detectives went to the evidence room.

“What has never been put in public view is there are literally dozens of photographs of the handling of that evidence,” she said.

She says at least 65 photographs were taken documenting every step in the process.

Corcella is also suing city and county officials for false and defamatory statements for saying she “…ordered Chief Cieselski’s emails be monitored.”

An allegation she also denies.

“It’s not unusual for people to create a straw man, a scape goat, a straw woman to take the focus off of the actions the prosecutors office might be doing, the actions the IMPD might be doing,” Corcella said. “This wasn’t just happening in the full public view.”

The second lawsuit this week comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by Corcella last fall as a whistleblower.

I-Team 8 exposed exclusive details then detailing allegations of problems within the internal affairs department. 

Corcella showed evidence of back-logged cases ranging from “officers (stun gunning) citizens in the back”.. to “officers referring to women as the c-word”.. to “officers running their own private businesses.. while on duty using tax payer dollars.”

Corcella has also filed a charge of discrimination based on retaliation with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.

I-Team 8 reached out to the city and prosecutor for comment but did not hear back Wednesday.

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