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Was Sheriff Gladieux prosecution handled right way? Party leaders react

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Is the filing of a misdemeanor battery charge against Allen County Sheriff Dave Gladieux the right call on the heels of a push the sheriff gave a TRF volunteer back in July?

It’s a key question on the table after special prosecutor Rodney Cummings out of Madison County filed that misdemeanor charge against Gladieux.

An investigator for the Indiana State Police says Gladieux moved a fence so he could use a portable restroom at Headwaters Park at the Three Rivers Festival July 16th, prompting a 15-year old male TRF volunteer to approach and ask if he had a badge permitting him to be in the closed off area.

Court documents say Sheriff Gladieux– who was with friends at the festival that night and was drinking– eventually pushed the boy down, and that the boy injured his lower back when he fell on a metal stake holding up a tent.

The sheriff claims the boy put his hands on him first, but Gladieux released a statement saying, “In retrospect, I believe that I could and should have handled the entirety of the situation with more professionalism. For that, I am deeply sorry.”

Whether that fits the definition of an apology is open to interpretation.

But as part of a deal worked out, allowing Gladieux to enter a pre-trial deferral program, the sheriff was required to make a public apology for his actions, that he successfully complete an accredited Alcohol Treatment Program, complete anger management, and be under supervision of the Prosecutor’s Deferral Program for one year.

If he meets the terms of the agreement, the charge will be dismissed.

“Everybody has a bad day and Dave Gladieux had a bad day that day,” said Allen County’s Republican Party chairman Steve Shine.

He believes Gladieux, who is in his second term, has done a good job managing sheriff’s officers and the county jail.

He argues he could actually become a better sheriff because of a low point in his career.

“Which he has been humbled by, which he has been embarrassed and humiliated by, and which he gave his heartfelt apology for,” Shine said.

Allen County Democratic Party chairperson Misti Meehan did not take issue with the fact Gladieux was hit with a misdemeanor, not a felony, saying the special prosecutor should be trusted to make the right call.

“He is the one who should be making those decisions, what those consequences look like, I would have a much larger problem if it had been someone local, I think then it would simply feed into local people covering for local people,” Meehan said.

The family of the young boy who was allegedly a victim of battery has taken some steps towards pursuing a civil lawsuit against the sheriff.

Don Swanson, a criminal lawyer in Fort Wayne, says it may not be easy for the family to collect significant monetary damages, given the fact the physical injuries to the boy who was pushed to the ground were not serious.

But Steve Shine concedes that the family deserves the community’s support for …”the spectacle that it has had to endure.”

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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