The Journal Gazette
Thursday, October 28, 2021 5:44 pm

Part of downtown-protest lawsuit dismissed

Plaintiffs may seek monetary damages if not resolved by joint agreement

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

The 12 people who sued the city of Fort Wayne following protests in May 2020 have dismissed part of the pending lawsuit after coming to an agreement with the city.

The lawsuit on behalf of a dozen represented by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges police used “unreasonable force” during the demonstrations downtown in May 2020.

The lawsuit asks a judge to bar officers from interfering with protests or using tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray in similar situations in the future. It also asks for a declaration that the defendants’ and officers’ actions violated and continue to violate constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs plan to dismiss their claims aside from monetary damages following multiple discussions, many of which were with a neutral mediator.

The lawsuit also requested an award of monetary damages, including attorney’s fees, which the plaintiffs can continue to sue for if it isn’t resolved by joint agreement.

John Perlich, Mayor Tom Henry’s spokesman, released a city and ACLU jointly-prepared document Thursday about the discussions, which establishes protocol for similar situations in the future.

It included that city police will only use less-lethal, impact munitions when “it is objectively reasonable to do so” and only targets people who resist or interfere with an arrest or are perceived to be an imminent threat, the statement said.

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