Purdue Exponent files lawsuit against Purdue for surveillance video

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Purdue Exponent General Manager Pat Kuhnle is one of only a few who’s seen the video.

“The suspect in the case was treated with more dignity than our photographer was, and I think the public needs to see that,” said Kuhnle.

The video is surveillance from the Electrical Engineering Building on Jan. 21, the same day Purdue student Andrew Boldt was murdered in the basement of the building.

Kuhnle said the surveillance is from the second floor and shows what happens after police asked the photographer to get down on the ground.

“He’s pulled up by the collar, walked down the corridor of the hall. And as he’s walking down the corridor of the hall, he’s pushed against the wall by a Purdue police officer,” said Kuhnle. “Then, a second one comes running up after him and barks at him.”

Kuhnle said the photographer was detained for several hours and his equipment was broken and confiscated. Kuhnle said The Purdue Exponent filed a freedom of information request for the video, but was denied.

Now, the ACLU is suing the university on the Exponent’s behalf. ACLU attorney Kelly Eskew said not releasing the video is a violation of Indiana’s Public Record Law.

“We’re only asking for the video surveillance recording that pertain to this encounter between the member of the media and the police, not for anything that pertains to the crime in the basement of that building,” said Eskew.

However, Purdue University officials said there are exceptions to the law including releasing materials relating to a criminal investigation. Officials said the surveillance video is part of a criminal investigation and, therefore, doesn’t have to be released to the public.

Kuhnle said the criminal investigation in the basement has nothing to do with what happened two stories above.

“That video existed independently of the investigation, and therefore should be considered public record,” said Kuhnle.

Eskew said the case will now go before a court, which will review the surveillance video.

The ACLU filed the complaint Tuesday, and Eskew said Purdue University has 23 days to respond. From there, she said the court will have a scheduling conference to set deadlines for the case.

News 18 asked Kuhnle if the Exponent plans on filing any charges against the Purdue Police Department or the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office.

He said their first order of business is getting a copy of that video. After that, he said they’ll have to wait and see.

For more on what the lawsuit says, and a response from Purdue University, click here.

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