WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue Exponent has filed suit against Purdue University concerning access to surveillance video recordings which show the confrontation between one of their newspaper photographers and police.
The student newspaper was covering the January murder of Purdue student Andrew Boldt. The lawsuit, filed in Tippecanoe County, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana states the university erroneously labeled the video recordings as evidence of the crime scene and failed to release those recordings as required by Indiana’s public records access laws, according to an ACLU press release.
“Laws granting access to public records are referred to as ‘sunshine laws’ because they enable a free and independent press to shine a spotlight on the actions of officials charged with protecting the public interest,” Kelly Eskew, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney, told News 18 in a release. “Purdue’s arbitrary refusal to release the requested video stands in the way of those free press rights.”
According to the ACLU, the recording in question shows Michael Takeda, a Purdue Exponent photographer, being pushed to the ground and shoved into a wall by campus police following the murder of student Andrew Boldt on Jan. 21 in the basement of the Electrical Engineering building.
Takeda, whose equipment was damaged during the confrontation, said he identified himself as a member of the press after he gained access to the building’s second floor, which was not sealed off by police.
The release went on to say that after the physical incident, police detained Takeda and confiscated his damaged camera equipment for several hours.
The Exponent said it has made several attempts to obtain copies of the video recordings, but said the university has refused public disclosure even after allowing the newspaper to view the recordings.
“We are disappointed that Purdue has forced us to file a lawsuit to compel the university to release video footage that, by law, we believe should be available for anyone to see,” Purdue Exponent publisher and general manager, Pat Kuhnle, said in a news release.
Purdue University released this statement Tuesday concerning the lawsuit.
“The complaint challenges the conclusion of the Indiana Public Access Counselor, whose April 4 determination in favor of Purdue is attached to the complaint. As confirmed by the Public Access Counselor, Purdue has followed the requirements of the Access to Public Records Act.”
To view the official complaint document, provided by Purdue, click here.