Former Vigo County judge files lawsuit against conservation officer after alleged bird watching incident

According to documents filed in federal court, John Kite claims he was falsely arrested by Deland Szczepanski.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 3:26 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 9:10 AM

VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - A former Vigo County judge has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana Conservation Officer.

According to documents filed in federal court, John Kite claims he was falsely arrested by Deland Szczepanski.

Deland Szczepanski (Photo credit: DNR)

Szczepanski works for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a conservation officer.

The lawsuit claims Kite was bird-watching for research last March in rural Vermillion County.

Kite says he was leaving as he was flagged down by Szczepanski.

Szczepanski reportedly showed Kite his badge and told him he was a police officer.

He also had a handgun and a large dog with him.

Szczepanski reportedly accused Kite of acting suspicious...adding he doesn't like people stopping by or in front of his house.

Kite said Szczepanski took his driver's license and detained him, but would not tell him a reason why.

Kite was never charged with any crime and was free to leave after 20 to 30 minutes.

Kite claims he has suffered substantial mental and emotional stress harm as a resulted of the alleged incident.

DNR told News 10 there would not be a comment on pending litigation.

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