INDIANAPOLIS -- A Greencastle native who was demoted in August from the rank of assistant chief at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has filed papers outlining his intent to file suit against the city of Indianapolis.
Darryl Pierce and his attorney, Robert Turner, plan to sue the city of Indianapolis. In a tort claim notice filed Wednesday, they say Pierce lost income and his good reputation because of the demotion.
The tort claim said the city slandered Pierce and damaged his reputation.
Pierce said at a press conference earlier this week that his demotion to lieutenant following a fatal crash hurt him and his family.
"I've been humiliated," he said.
Turner said Pierce went to the scene of the accident to help and was unfairly punished when the investigation took a bad turn.
Pierce was one of three high-ranking IMPD officers to lose his rank as the result of what the IMPD said was "lack of leadership" during what has been described in various court documents as a "botched" investigation of a drunk driving accident that led to charges being filed against IMPD Officer David Bisard.
On Aug. 6, Bisard drove his squad car into a group of motorcyclists, killing one and injuring two others. The police on the scene didn't notice that he was intoxicated and investigated the matter as an accident instead of a crime.
A blood test indicating Bisard was drunk could not be used in court.
The three officers at the scene -- Pierce, Assistant Chief Ron Hicks and Commander John Conley -- all worked an accident on Aug. 6, when Bisard's cruiser struck a group of motorcyclists. One man was killed in the accident.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub said the three high-ranking officers on the scene were demoted for failing to manage the investigation and to keep other higher-ups informed.
In the tort claim notice, Robert Turner, Pierce's attorney, says Pierce called Police Chief Paul Ciesielski eight times in an hour during the investigation and left the scene only because Ciesielski told him not to be late for a meeting.
Pierce will seek damages for his loss of income and good reputation, among other things, according to the tort claim notice.
Pierce was promoted to assistant chief in February. The IMPD works on a merit system, so all three officers returned to the ranks they held before their most recent promotions.
"I have a lot to offer the (department)," Pierce said during the press conference. "I would love to have my job back, but not working for the two individuals (public safety director Frank Straub and IMPD chief Paul Ciesielski) that removed me from my position."
Pierce was born and grew up in Greencastle. He graduated from Greencastle High School, where he had been a member of the basketball, football and baseball teams, in 1969.
After graduating from GHS, Pierce studied secondary education at Indiana University. He moved to Indianapolis in 1973, and was hired by the Indianapolis Police Department in the spring of1980.
During his 30 years with the IMPD, Pierce had been promoted several times.
He had served on the Chief of Police's Executive Staff for 10 years, and, before his most recent promotion, had served as the commander of the Indianapolis Downtown District since 2007.
He had served in positions in such areas as narcotics, internal affairs, prosecutor's office, criminal investigations and human resources. He had earned many awards for bravery, merit and leadership.
In October 2009, he applied for the position of public safety director (which oversees the police and fire departments, as well as emergency management) and was selected by the nine-member search committee as one of the four finalists out of 125 applicants nationwide.