Facing a Lawsuit from Student Newspaper, Purdue Ready to Release Controversial Video
In the wake of a lawsuit filed by The Purdue Exponent, Purdue University is now offering to release video footage that captures a controversial incident earlier this year involving a student photographer and campus police.
As I previously posted, the Exponent student newspaper recently filed its first lawsuit against the school in its 125-year history to obtain a surveillance video allegedly showing one of its staffers “pushed to the ground, verbally abused and threatened” by members of Purdue’s security team.
This past January, Exponent photo editor Hiraku ‘Michael’ Takeda was snapping pictures at the scene of a campus shooting when he said “several police officers confronted him, pointing a stun-gun at him. They then forced him to the ground and confiscated the two cameras he had.”
Soon after the incident, The Indianapolis Star confirms, an internal police investigation “found Takeda’s ‘detention was not unwarranted,’ that Takeda did not heed officers’ verbal commands, attempted to flee and that there was ‘insufficient evidence to confirm or refute’ the allegations” of improper behavior.
According to the Exponent, the point of the lawsuit is to help clear up those perceived insufficiencies, letting the public decide for themselves if officers were overly — perhaps even illegally — zealous in their initial takedown of Takeda.
Purdue officials initially refused to release the video, arguing it was “part of a murder investigation and thus not subject to public document release requirements.”
Yet, the lawsuit — and I’m guessing the accompanying negative press — appears to have changed their minds. University legal counsel is now asking a judge for “authorization to take the extraordinary measure of releasing this video into the public record in the hope of clearing this matter up once and for all.”
An Exponent report says the school just wants to receive the blessing of local police and a county prosector before posting the footage online for all to see. Exponent publisher and general manager Pat Kuhnle: “I’m hopeful that the public will be able to view what happened that day. I think what people will see will be in stark contradiction to the February police report on the incident.”