An excessive force lawsuit against a Fort Wayne Police officer who shot an unarmed man after a store robbery in 2015 will continue.
Anthony Gant is suing Officer Daniel Hartman for the Aug. 23, 2015, shooting outside the Dollar General store at 3121 E. State Blvd. Gant robbed the store with another man and bound a store employee and a customer with zip ties before leaving the store.
They were met by officers at the front door. Gant was shot by Hartman in the abdomen as he was exiting the store and was hospitalized in critical condition. The second suspect, Christopher D. Johnson, 31, of Fort Wayne, was captured after he ran from officers.
Gant eventually pleaded guilty in the robbery and was sentenced to 12 years; he’s set to be released in 2024.
He sued the city of Fort Wayne and three officers over the 2015 shooting, though, claiming he was the victim of excessive force and was denied immediate medical care.
Previously, a U.S. District Court judge removed the city and two officers from the lawsuit, but ruled court action could continue against Hartman. The judge found that reasonable jurors could believe Gant was trying to obey Hartman’s orders to stop as he fled a Dollar General store.
Hartman had appealed that ruling, but an appellate court found Hartman’s appellate argument relied on “disputed facts” and he did not present sufficient evidence to “utterly discredit” the district court’s findings, and it denial the appeal.
Gant’s excessive force lawsuit has been reassigned to new U.S. District Court Judge Holly Brady.
Allen County prosecutors have cleared Hartman of criminal wrongdoing for shooting Gant.