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KEVIN LEININGER: Gladieux’s target wants at least $300,000; a Crawford gives $2,500 (and maybe more) to Henry

Republican Allen County Sheriff Dave Gladieux, center, could face a civil lawsuit of at least $300,000 in addition to the misdemeanor battery charge announced this week. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger
Marcia Crawford
Kevin Leininger

It appears Allen County Sheriff Dave Gladieux’s legal problems did not end with the misdemeanor battery charge announced this week. And taxpayers may be on the hook this time around.

The parents of the 15-year-old Three Rivers Festival volunteer Gladieux allegedly roughed up July 16 have given notice of their intent to file a civil suit seeking at least $300,000 from Gladieux in his individual and official capacities, citing “physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment (and) unlawful and excessive force.”

Attorney Christopher C. Myers, a frequent participant in suits targeting public officials, filed the notice Aug. 22 with J. Spencer Feighner, attorney for the Sheriff’s Department.

Myers’ tort claim on behalf of Brad and Erin Bullerman of Monroeville and their son identified only as “C.B.” reiterates and expands upon details in the charge announced Thursday following an investigation led by Special Prosecutor Rodney Cummings of Madison County. According to Myers, the 15-year old was closing the sponsor hospitality tent around 10:45 p.m. when he saw two men walking toward the restrooms which had been closed.

C.B. then walked around to where the restrooms were and saw the gate was moved open. At that point, the claim states, a man came out and C.B. told him, “Sir the restrooms are closed, can I see your badge.” Festival officials with badges were allowed in certain sections of the festival. The person responded, “I am the f . . . . . g sheriff, move out of my way.”

Myers claims the teen didn’t believe the person was the real sheriff because he smelled of alcohol. A confrontation ensued during which Gladieux allegedly pushed the teen “very hard” to the ground. “Mrs. Bullerman heard the Sheriff tell (Fort Wayne Police Sgt. Clay Taylor) that (C.B.) was just a f . . . . . g kid, there is not a g . . . . . n thing he can do about it,” the claim states.

Gladieux’s criminal charge will be dropped if he completes terms of an agreement that also imposed a $334 fine, participation in anger-management and alcohol treatment programs and a public apology, which Gladieux issued this week. But as an elected official and the county’s chief law enforcement officer, Gladieux owes the public far more than an apology. He also owes those he has been entrusted to serve the highest level of ethics, professionalism and conduct.

Gladieux has disputed some of the points included in the criminal charge and no doubt would do the same with the civil complaint, even though he and Feighner have declined comment. But whatever did or did not happen that night, this much is clear:

Gladieux owes the public better, and it would be a travesty if taxpayers pay a price for his private conduct — despite the alleged eagerness to exploit his title in the process.

(One) Crawford backs Henry

Four months after Tim Smith defeated City Council President John Crawford in a bitter Republican mayoral primary, Crawford still isn’t ready to take sides in the November showdown between Smith and Tom Henry.

But another Crawford has already done so — and is backing the three-term Democratic incumbent.

Marcia Crawford tells me she was a sponsor of the July 31 Henry fundraiser at Ash Brokerage headquarters, donating $2,500 to re-elect the man John Crawford hoped to defeat. Crawford said she remains concerned and angry over what she believes were Smith’s “total misrepresentations” of her husband’s record, especially the claim that he had been “bad for Fort Wayne.”

“I’ll support (Henry) in whatever way I can,” Marcia Crawford added. “I think we can all agree the city is moving in the right direction and that changing horses makes no sense.”

Her husband’s campaign to do just that was different, she insisted, because of his government experience and because he and Henry supported many of the same things.

“(Marcia) has a mind of her own,” said John Crawford, who is withholding support for either Smith or Henry “depending on what I see from the two campaigns.” Earlier this week, Crawford penned a newspaper column decrying negative campaigning and bemoaning the fact that such ads are often successful. “It was basically a plea for both candidates to talk about their ideas foe the future,” Crawford said.

“The Smith campaign will remain laser-focused on making this election a competition of ideas to make Fort Wayne the safest, smartest and most prosperous city in the Midwest,” promised the challenger’s communications director, Joe Knepper.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Kevin Leininger at kleininger@news-sentinel.com or call him at 461-8355.

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