IFD suspends Rep. Dan Forestal after OWI arrest; special prosecutor appointed
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Fire Department has suspended state Rep. Dan Forestal without pay following his arrest last weekend.
Forestal, an active firefighter with IFD, will be suspended for 240 hours and remanded into an employee assistance program. After the 240 hours, the fire department says he will be placed on “administrative assignment (40 hour work week).” He will not be responding on runs or acting in the capacity of a suppression firefighter/EMT.
Pending the outcome of the case, IFD’s chief will determine the next course of action.
Forestal was formally charged Wednesday with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement, and impersonating a police officer.
Forestal is accused of asking people where drug dealers were and asking patrons at a bar where he could get cocaine, while flashing his badge.
When Forestal was pulled over near 21st and Shadeland, a police report say he refused to get out and “grabbed the steering wheel with both hands” to make it more difficult for officers to pull him out. The report says Forestal told them he would “have all of their badges” because of his role as a state Representative.
Documents show Forestal also threatened to sue the officers for “violating his civil rights,” and identified himself as an Indianapolis firefighter, a state representative and the nephew of the Marion County sheriff. After officers wrestled him to the ground, they say Forestal refused a breath test.
Police got a warrant for a blood test at the hospital, where according to the report, Forestal tried to rip the warrant out of their hands and had to be restrained by sheriff’s deputies to have the blood test completed.
According to documents provided by IFD, this wasn’t the first time Forestal was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. In fact, in an email sent in November of 2007, he wrote that he had pleaded guilty to an OWI charge. He also apologized for the situation and said it wouldn’t happen again.
“… I apologize for putting myself and the Fire Department in this situation. Nothing like this will ever happen again,” wrote Forestal in the email.
A special prosecutor out of Hancock County has been appointed in the recent case, because Forestal had previously made contributions to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and worked as a campaign volunteer.