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Fort Wayne Police withholding report on incident involving sheriff

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Fort Wayne police will not release the official report related to an incident that has prompted a state police investigation involving Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux.

On Tuesday night, Gladieux was party to a disturbance that also involved a teenage Three Rivers Festival volunteer. The volunteer sustained unspecified minor injuries.

The incident prompted an initial investigation by the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Fort Wayne Police Department spokeswoman Sofia Rosales-Scatena said the department turned over the investigation to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, which subsequently asked Indiana State Police to take control.

The FWPD denied ABC21’s repeated requests for the police report of the incident. The prosecutor’s office also denied our request for the report, citing the “investigatory records” exemption in Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.

Indiana State Police said they have not yet received paperwork on the matter.

Police reports are frequently requested, received and reported by news outlets. On Monday, ABC21 received the police report on a shooting at the Hallmark Inn — a case being handled by FWPD.

But the department, and other agencies, have also refused to release other, similar records.

In December of last year, FWPD denied ABC21’s request for the incident report on the arrest of Kameron Joyner — a suspect now charged with three counts of murder in connection to a Thanksgiving night slaying.

Joyner’s grandmother and legal guardian is Deborah Joyner, who retired as captain from FWPD last year after 40 years with the department. His great uncle is Mike Joyner, who retired earlier this year as the spokesman for FWPD.

The official tasked with interpreting the state’s public record laws, Luke Britt, offered the following guidance in a 2014 opinion regarding use of the “investigatory records” exemption:

“I have continuously cautioned law enforcement to use the exception in a light favorable to transparency and access – all the more so when the release of information would not compromise the integrity of an investigation.”

And in 2017, Britt wrote an opinion related to ABC21’s complaint against the City of Fort Wayne for withholding 911 audio in the Amber Pasztor case. In that opinion Britt noted:

“It is my opinion 911 tapes may be withheld from disclosure as investigatory records of a law enforcement agency when the agency can sustain the burden of proof of nondisclosure. I will defer to the law enforcement agency’s discretion, with the caveat that the call should only be held if it jeopardizes an investigation, an expectation of privacy, or if its release presents a legitimate public safety issue.”

It was a point reiterated in a 2018 opinion:

“The purpose of public access is accountability, arguably even more so for law enforcement. Therefore it stands to reason that when literally self-policing one of their own, an agency should err on the side of transparency, to the extent possible, to ensure that accountability.”

Neither the FWPD or the Allen County Prosecutor has provided detail on the for denial of the TRF records request beyond the “investigatory records” notation.

The City has been consistent in its denial of public record requests for 911 audio recordings, dash camera and body camera video recordings related to any criminal investigation — even when a suspect has been convicted and sentenced.

Alexis Shear

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