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State Representative Dan Forestal makes first court appearance following arrest

Charges include impersonating a police officer
Dan Forestal.JPG
Posted at 4:29 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 16:43:29-04

INDIANAPOLIS—A state representative arrested earlier this month on drunken driving and other charges appeared in court for the first time, Tuesday.

A trial date for 36-year-old Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, was not set, but he is due back in court September 9. He faces charges of: Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, Resisting Law Enforcement, and Impersonation of a Public Servant.

Forestal is a Democrat who represents portions of Indianapolis. He is also a member of the city's fire department.

He was arrested near the intersection of East 21st Street and North Shadeland Avenue. According to a police report, IMPD officers were called to the intersection to investigate a report of a man impersonating a police officer.

When officers stopped Forestal's car, police said he first put his hands up, then back down, then grabbed the steering wheel as he was pulled out of the vehicle by two officers. A responding officer then heard Forestal threaten their jobs.

Witnesses said Forestal claimed he was a police officer and he was asking for drugs.

A special prosecutor from Hancock County has been assigned to the case, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office said, because of campaign contributions Forestal made to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

After his arrest, The Indianapolis Fire Department suspended Forestal, who serves as a private.

IFD Battalion Chief for Media Relations Rita Reith said in an email that Forestal will be suspended without pay for 240 hours and remanded into an employee assistance program. It is Forestal's third suspension since Nov. 2007, according to documents in his personnel file that were provided by IFD.

According to a personnel file that Reith provided, Forestal accepted a plea agreement in Nov. 2007, to plead guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He attended court-ordered alcohol abuse classes as part of the agreement.

"This was the best way to bring this matter to its conclusion and focus my attention — where it belongs — with the Fire Department," Forestal wrote in the document in 2007. "Again, I apologize for putting myself and the Fire Department in this position. Nothing like this will ever happen again."

IFD suspended Forestal for 24 duty hours without pay for conduct unbecoming a firefighter had his probationary time extended by six months following the 2007 incident, according to a document in his personnel file.

Forestal was suspended a second time in June 2016 for 24 duty hours for substandard performance, the documents stated.