Purdue newspaper sues school over security footage
- The Exponent's photographer went to cover a shooting on campus earlier this year.
- Purdue has refused to release footage of a confrontation between the photographer and the campus police.
Purdue’s student newspaper filed a lawsuit against the university for withholding public access to a video recording of a student photojournalist being pushed to the ground and detained by campus police.
The confrontation occurred shortly after Michael Takeda arrived on the scene of the murder of student Andrew Boldt back in January. Takeda was on the second floor of the Electrical Engineering building seeking photo opportunities for the Exponent when campus police aggressively confronted him.
According to the lawsuit against the university, campus police pushed Takeda to the ground and then shoved him against a wall.
Takeda was detained and his camera was damaged and confiscated by campus police. He was taken away for questioning for nearly two hours before being released. The equipment was returned to the Exponent but the university refused to release security footage of the incident.
“Once the video is released, the public will be able to see that the February police report on the incident is flawed in many areas,” said Pat Kuhnle, publisher and general manager of the Exponent told Campus Reform. “The public has a right to learn the truth about what happened that day and make its own assessment.”
Several members of the Exponent staff were was able to view the video but the university has refused to release the footage.
“We've been frustrated trying to get Purdue to release what we consider to be public documents for more than six months,” Kuhnle told Campus Reform. “Simply put, we want the public to be able to see the interaction between the various police agencies and our photographer on Jan. 21—that horrific day on the Purdue campus.”
Indiana’s public records access law requires that the video content be released, but the university is labeling the video as “evidence of the crime scene” and will not condone public access to the material.
“Purdue is arguing that an exclusion provision to the state's public access laws applies in this case,” Kuhnle told Campus Reform. “We, along with the ACLU of Indiana, argue otherwise. The video, which is a public document, existed independently of the police murder investigation and plays no part in that investigation. Therefore, to draw the inference that somehow the video's status changed due to the murder investigation is misguided.”
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