FORT WAYNE Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Allen County taxpayers will likely foot the bill to settle a lawsuit involving Sheriff Dave Gladieux and the teen aged Three Rivers Festival volunteer he allegedly shoved last summer. Moments after the decision by the county council, a Fort Wayne activist says he decided to plan a protest in response asking the sheriff to step down.
Allen County council voted 5-2 to pay a $55,000 settlement to the family of a Three Rivers Festival volunteer who claimed last summer an intoxicated, off-duty Dave Gladieux identified himself as the sheriff, then shoved the teen to the ground, injuring him.
"It’s just an issue of police in general, they just kind of get off scott-free in whenever they do something,” When Ben Schoch learned taxpayers will likely foot the bill for the Sherrif's settlement he says he decided to take to the streets.
"We want people to know we will not be silent with someone in our own community getting away with a crime and only getting a slap on the wrist for it,” Schoch said.
Not only does he think the money should come out of the Sheriff's own pocket, he thinks the he should step down.
"It would show the community that he acknowledged that what he did was wrong, and that the system is unfairly balanced in his favor,” Schoch said.
County Councilman Robert Armstrong says the council doesn't have the power to make the Sheriff step down or pay up.
"Council does not have the statutory authority to force the sheriff to pay it, and we do not have the authority to make him step down from office,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong was one of two people who voted no in the council meeting, he says he wanted to prevent the tax payers from having to pay the settlement.
He says in his 28 years of being an elected official, this was one of his hardest decisions yet.
"We all didn’t like it; we wish we wouldn’t have been put in this position,” Armstrong said. “It was a hard decision, it really was, and I understand people are upset but we dealt with what we had to deal with.”
He says county taxpayers are on the hook either way because the Sheriff was sued in his official capacity.
The council wants the Sheriff to pay the money back and Schoch wants him to take responsibility.
"I think that if we get enough people out there, that he’s not just going to skate by,” Schoch said. “People are mad, people will not forget, and we’re here to make a change happen.”
The protest will take place at the Allen County Courthouse on Saturday September 26th and will begin at noon.