Blacked out police report could fit in the definition of public records

The report does name the 15-year-old victim in the case, which the Indiana Public Access Counselor said is required by law.

Posted: Jul 22, 2019 9:48 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2019 10:25 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Fort Wayne Police Department released the police report of a disturbance involving Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux.

However, most of the information is blacked out.

The report does name the 15-year-old victim in the case, which the Indiana Public Access Counselor said is required by law.

The only description provided was the boy fell backwards on a PVC pipe and was hurt.

The report does list three possible charges, including assault, disorderly conduct and intoxication.

"Police are going to be mindful of any investigatory material that might compromise and underlying investigation," said Luke Britt, the Indiana Public Access Counselor.

The Public Access Counselor helps people navigate Indiana's public access laws, including police reports.

Britt said the information that can be released varies depending on the report.

"General circumstances regarding the incident and a factual description of any property damage, weapons, or injury involved," Britt said.

"The question is where is the balance between our need to know and the right to withhold that information for some legitimate reason," said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

Britt said cases involving elected officials, such as a sheriff, are supposed to be treated the same as any other case.

However, Downs said government officials might decide to error on the side of caution.

"It may be a good idea, or a bad idea to actually redact a little bit more, in others error on the side of hiding the information or holding the information back, eventually revealing it when it becomes information that's been proven," he said.

Britt says the only way to really know if the blacked out information is supposed to be released is when the Indiana State Police finishes its investigation.

The special prosecutor in the case, Madison County prosecutor Rodney Cummings said it will be at least a month before he is able to determine if charges will be filed in this case.

The Allen County Sheriff's Department told FOX 55 Gladieux is still working while the state police investigates the situation.

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