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Indiana lawmaker arrested for impersonating police to find coke, driving while intoxicated

An Indiana state lawmaker is accused of impersonating a police officer to find cocaine, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest, according to prosecutors.

Rep. Dan Forestal, a Democrat who was elected to the state House in 2012, approached a couple outside their Indianapolis home Saturday night and told them: “I’m a legit officer doing a drug bust and today is the last day before the Feds descend and start kicking in doors,” court documents said.

He then showed them a badge with a silver chain and asked them to tell him where the “people selling drugs” lived.

Earlier in the evening, Forestal, 36, had been at a bar telling customers he was a firefighter, and asking them where he could buy “party favors” like cocaine, a bartender told investigators, according to an affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court on Wednesday.

State Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis.AJ Mast / AP file

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department received a call about Forestal’s behavior after 11 p.m., found him driving and pulled him over. Responding officers said they noticed Forestal’s breath smelled of alcohol, his eyes were red and glossy, and he was swaying.

He wouldn’t get out of his vehicle, and when two officers tried to remove him, he grasped the steering wheel, the affidavit said. When he was finally removed from the car and handcuffed, Forestal told the officers he was going to sue them for “violating his civil rights.”

He told them he was a lawmaker, a firefighter and the sheriff’s nephew, and “stated that due to his position in public safety and as a state representative, he would ‘have’ all of the officers’ badges,” the affidavit said.

Forestal is in fact the nephew of Marion County Sheriff Kerry J. Forestal, a sheriff’s office spokesperson confirmed to NBC News, and he serves as a private with the Indianapolis Fire Department. His grandfather was a member of the old Indianapolis City Council, and his great-grandmother was a township trustee, according to the IndyStar.

The lawmaker refused to take a sobriety test after police pulled him over, and he insisted that an ambulance take him to a hospital because he had a small cut on his elbow from when the officers dragged him out of his car, prosecutors said.

When Forestal was in the hospital, police got a warrant to draw his blood, which he ripped out of an officer’s hands when it was served to him. Deputies had to place him in restraints so that a nurse could draw his blood.

Forestal was booked Sunday in Marion County Jail, where he once served as a guard. He was released on a $150 bond and is due in court on Aug. 27, jail records show.

He was formally charged Wednesday with resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, both of which are misdemeanors. He was also charged with impersonating a public servant, which is a felony.

Forestal represents a large part of Indianapolis and serves in House Democratic leadership as assistant chair of the caucus. A spokesman for the Indiana House Democrats, John Schorg, had no comment on his arrest.

A message to Forestal’s office was not returned and his attorney, James Voyles, said he doesn’t discuss his cases.

A special prosecutor will handle Forestal’s case because he worked as a campaign volunteer for Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and has also made campaign contributions, Michael Leffler, a spokesman for the office told NBC News.


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