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Don’t Try This at Home

INDIANAPOLIS (CN) - In a bizarre complaint, a police sergeant claims a Baptist church colluded with a city official to stage a fight while the sergeant spoke "about how to improve police-community relations," and the sergeant was injured in the melee.

Indianapolis Police Sgt. Matthew Grimes sued the City, three people and the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, alleging fraud, battery, negligence, injuries, emotional distress and constitutional violations.

Grimes says he appeared at the (nonparty) Municipal Gardens Community Center on July 24, 2010, "to give a presentation to citizens about how to improve police-community relations." Most of the audience were members of the defendant Baptist church.

Grimes says he was invited there by defendant Willard Gupton, manager of the Municipal Gardens, and the event "had been scheduled in coordination between Gupton and the church's pastor, James Harrington," who also is a defendant.

"Unbeknownst to Sgt. Grimes, Gupton and Harrington had arranged beforehand that during Grimes' presentation a fight would break out in the audience. The purpose of staging this fight was to test Grimes' reaction and to observe the martial tactics that Sgt. Grime would use to restore peace," the complaint states.

The "combatants" included the third individual defendant, Ennis Adams Jr., "and another person whose identity is unknown but is believed to be Adams' brother," Grimes says.

Grimes says he "intervened to stop what he believed was a fight," and Ennis Adams knocked him down, injuring his back and knees.

"The impact knocked Sgt. Grimes' radio off his shoulder and out of reach so that he could not call for backup," the complaint states. "Sgt. Grimes was about to use his Taser weapon to stun Adams when Harrington intervened and told Sgt. Grimes that the fight had been staged."

Grimes says Gupton was acting within the scope of his employment by the city, and Harrington within the scope of his employment by the church. He says he needed medical care for his injuries and was on medical restrictions at work for 2 months.

Grimes seeks punitive damages. He is represented in Federal Court by Jeffrey McQuary with Brown Tompkins Lory & Mastrian.

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