Allen County, Fort Wayne officials deny ‘excessive force’ lawsuit claims

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The City of Fort Wayne and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department have denied allegations detailed in a pending excessive force lawsuit filed by a couple in U.S. District Court last month.

The Fort Wayne residents said in the lawsuit they were stuck in traffic during last summer’s racial injustice protests in downtown Fort Wayne and subsequently flung into conflict with law enforcement.

The lawsuit, filed on June 18 in U.S. District Court by Jamison Chapman and Latina Evans, names the city of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Police Officer Shane Pulver, Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux, and unidentified correctional officers at the Allen County Jail as defendants.

In a response filed in federal court, the City of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Police Officer Shane Pulver, and the Allen County Sheriff David Gladiuex denied the claims by Chapman and Evans. The “John Does” correctional officers, have yet to be identified.

BACKGROUND:

The lawsuit alleges that around 7 p.m. on May 30, 2020, Chapman and Evans were stuck in their car near Berry Street and Clinton Street while police blocked the intersection during a racial injustice protest in downtown Fort Wayne. According to court documents, police shot tear gas at their car, which prevented Chapman, Evans and their dog from breathing. As a result, they were forced to exit the vehicle.

Shortly after they got out of the vehicle, Chapman and Evans tried to help a person who had been pepper-sprayed in the face at close range by an officer, the lawsuit alleges. As the two were helping the man, Chapman alleged that he was assaulted by three unnamed officers and a Officer Pulver, then arrested.

Inside Allen County Jail, Chapman alleged he was again “beaten” by correctional officers, including having his head “run into a door while he was being handcuffed; he was kicked over and over again; and he suffered seizures” and denied medical care, the lawsuit said. Chapman was reportedly hospitalized the next day for a head injury and treated for seizures.

The lawsuit alleges false arrest and battery.

Chapman was jailed for nearly six days until he was able to bond out. A warrant was issued for his arrest later, and he turned himself in and served another week in jail, according to the lawsuit. Criminal charges against him were ultimately dismissed due to a lack of probable cause, the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit alleges Evans suffered emotional distress from watching her husband being “arrested, beaten, and assaulted, and then taken away for no reason,” the lawsuit alleged. The couple said they were not participating in the protests, but rather “stuck in traffic while law enforcement went about their business of assaulting protesters and innocent by-standers.”

Chapman and Evans both lost their jobs after they were unable to return to North Carolina after the incident, according to the lawsuit.

The couple said they suffered “lost income, and other damages and injuries, including pain and suffering, emotional harm, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost of their businesses/livelihoods, and other damages and injuries,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and other costs and fees and “just and proper relief.”

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