The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 1:00 am

Fort Wayne hit with new lawsuit over protest

Indianapolis man claims wrongful arrest

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

An Indianapolis man who argues he was unlawfully arrested during last year's downtown protests has filed the latest lawsuit against the city of Fort Wayne.

Jalen S.R. Brown sued the city and Fort Wayne police Officer Shane Pulver in June in Allen Superior Court. The lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court on July 22.

Brown argues he was arrested without probable cause May 30, 2020, in violation of his constitutional rights.

Brown said he was visiting his significant other in Fort Wayne on May 30 when they walked downtown and encountered protesters. When he asked what the protest was about, a stranger replied, “We are protesting for black lives matter ...,” according to the lawsuit.

“We did not want to engage in the protest nor did we have any intentions to be involved so we kept our distance from the crowd,” Brown said in the lawsuit.

Brown overheard a group of people saying they were going to a park to continue the protest. Brown and his significant other decided to go to the park to see what was happening before walking back to their Airbnb. They were in the park about 15 minutes before police forced them to leave, the lawsuit said.

As they were leaving, several police officers in riot gear got out of their vehicle and forced the couple to the ground.

Brown was arrested and taken to Allen County Jail where he stayed for three days. His trespassing charge was later dismissed, court documents said.

Pulver arrested Brown without reason and probable cause, the lawsuit says.

Brown is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and attorney fees.

At least six lawsuits have been filed following the weekend in late May 2020 when tear gas and rubber bullets were used by police while responding to protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The city has until Aug. 26 to respond to Brown's allegations. The city has denied allegations including excessive force and unlawful arrests in other lawsuits.

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