The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, June 03, 2020 1:00 am

Federal court gets Gladieux lawsuit

Family of injured son alleges rights violated

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A lawsuit seeking damages from Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux for reportedly pushing a 15-year-old boy to the ground last year has been moved to federal court. 

Parents of the boy, a Three Rivers Festival volunteer, say Gladieux, 55, “smelled of alcohol” when he pushed their son, injuring him, after the teen asked to see a VIP pass to the restroom area at Headwaters Park. 

Brad and Erin Bullerman are seeking $300,000 for medical costs, emotional distress and other damages, according to documents now filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. The lawsuit had been pending in Allen Superior Court, but Gladieux’s attorneys filed a notice of removal to federal court last week. 

The lawsuit claims Gladieux violated the teen’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, and removal to federal court is common when constitutional questions are raised. 

The boy – identified in court documents as C.B. – fell onto a metal stake after he was pushed by Gladieux, the documents say. A police report filed after the incident says the teen reported redness and soreness to his lower back. 

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 C.B. 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.” 

“On this day, I had occasion to take in an event at the Three Rivers Festival,” he said. “While at this event, I was involved in an encounter with a juvenile festival volunteer. The volunteer was injured as a result.”

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. The lawsuit claims Gladieux “unlawfully seized and used excessive force on ‘C.B.’”

Court records show no hearings are scheduled.

Sign up for our crime and courts newsletter

Sent daily when events warrant