Suit against sheriff transferred to federal court

By The Associated Press

FORT WAYNE — A lawsuit alleging that a northeastern Indiana sheriff violated a teenage boy's constitutional rights during an altercation last year at a festival has been transferred to federal court.

The lawsuit against Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux was filed by the parents of a 15-year-old boy in a county court, but it was moved to U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne after Gladieux’s attorneys filed a notice of removal.

The suit claims that Gladieux injured the teen and violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment during a July 2019 altercation. Removal to federal court is common when constitutional questions are raised, The Journal Gazette reported.

Brad and Erin Bullerman’s son was a volunteer during Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival in July 2019. The couple's suit alleges that Gladieux “smelled of alcohol” and pushed their son to the ground, injuring him when he fell onto a metal stake, after the teen asked to see Gladieux’s VIP pass to a restroom area.

Their suit is seeking $300,000 for medical costs, emotional distress and other damages, according to documents now filed in federal court.

Gladieux, who was charged with misdemeanor battery in September, has said he used “a sweeping motion” to move the boy’s hands from the sheriff’s chest before the youth fell. Gladieux was placed in a pretrial diversion program and ordered to pay a $334 fine and complete accredited anger management and alcohol treatment courses.

If he complies with all the program’s terms, the battery charge will be dismissed Oct. 18.

The sheriff has apologized for his actions but says he did not commit battery. In a statement after he was charged, Gladieux said he “failed to conduct myself in a manner fitting my office.”

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