Facing a Lawsuit, Purdue Releases (Some) Video Footage Showing Student Journalist’s Arrest
After months of public back-and-forth and in the midst of a pending lawsuit, Purdue University has finally released video footage that captures a controversial incident earlier this year involving a student photographer and campus police.
Here’s the 60-second, rapid-fire, small-words, easy-to-follow background breakdown: In January, there was a deadly shooting on campus at Purdue. Michael Takeda, the photo editor for The Purdue Exponent, raced to the scene. He brought his cameras. He started snapping some shots. Campus security didn’t like that. Officers arrested him and allegedly “pushed [him] to the ground, verbally abused and threatened” him. They also confiscated his cameras. He was eventually released and his cameras a while later returned (thanks SPLC). But the stench of his initial — potentially overzealous — police takedown lingered. The Exponent wanted proof — and to show the public what happened. They requested surveillance video footage from inside the building where Takeda’s arrest took place. The police and others initially said no, claiming the video was part of the ongoing shooting investigation. So the Exponent sued, with the help of the ACLU. And now, at last, online and for all the public to see, here is the footage — or at least some of it.
What do you think?
Three different surveillance video snippets have been pieced together to create a roughly 90-second visual record of the police-Takeda interaction. From my perspective, the police are definitely a tad aggressive when first confronting Takeda. Otherwise, from a pure physicality standpoint, they seem mostly hands-off during a walk through a hallway and down some stairs. Of course, these are the portions police have decided to release and a not full start-to-finish recounting of events.
There is also no audio available from the footage. I mention this fact because it’s clear the officers and Takeda are talking — at times seemingly quite passionately — although it is unclear what they’re saying.
The lawsuit — and the Exponent’s concerns — are still pending, by the way. Both are centered on the fact that access to all the footage was what was wanted — not a spliced-together version of the full truth (however close it may be to that truth).
Exponent GM and publisher Pat Kuhnle: “There may be additional video out there, different angles from different cameras. From what they released, it is inconsistent with a police investigation, and therefore they violated the public access laws.”