Purdue police clears officers, Exponent calls report “inaccurate”

Exponent photographer Michael Takeda was detained by police after the fatal shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.
Exponent photographer Michael Takeda was detained by police after the fatal shooting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – An internal investigation by the Purdue Police Department has cleared the officers who detained a Purdue Exponent student photographer for several hours after last month’s shooting on campus.

As News 18 already reported, Michael Takeda said he was taking pictures in the Electrical Engineering building when he was detained by four police officers, had his cameras and phones taken away from him, then was taken to the Purdue police station.

The report finds there is insufficient evidence to back up Takeda’s claims of harassment, including that he was pushed to the ground, damaging one of his cameras. Takeda alleges an unidentified officer told him “You’re lucky you weren’t double tapped in the chest.” Takeda also alleges that when he asked if any charges were going to be filed against him, the officer said “I hope so and I hope they throw you out of school. And you know where you would be working next year? McDonald’s.”

Purdue Exponent Publisher and General Manager Pat Kuhnle said while he’s thankful that President Mitch Daniels pushed to make the report public and even released a statement of his own, the paper stands by Takeda’s account and believes the police report is inaccurate in at least eight places.

“We’re happy that it’s public, that it’s not being pushed under the rug. The issue is out there. We’re just disappointed in the facts. Our position is our photographer was telling the truth. There’s a totally different version in the police report. We dispute a lot of the findings of the police report,” said Kuhnle.

Kuhnle said despite inquiring several times about when the response to Takeda’s complaint would be released, the first he heard of it was when another reporter called him asking for a comment.

Kuhnle said he understands some points of view may be disputed, but the specificity of Takeda’s complaints could not be made up.

He also is disappointed that there’s no timeline of events. He believes the building may have already been cleared when Takeda was detained, so the officers didn’t have a reason for their continued detainment of Takeda.

The Purdue Exponent filed a written complaint of its own, which has not been responded to.

It has also made a public information request for video in both the Engineering building and police station that they believe would back up Takeda’s story. Kuhnle said the university has acknowledged the request but has not responded.

Police Chief John Cox referred a News 18 interview request to Assistant Vice President for External Relations Shelly Triol. She has not returned multiple voicemail messages left Friday afternoon.

Click here to view Purdue’s response to Takeda’s complaint.

Click here to view the Exponent’s response to Purdue Police’s findings.

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