Purdue police will again review photographer’s detention

Student Press Law Center | The Exponent

In February, Purdue University police cleared the department for the January detention of student photographer Michael Takeda, who was covering a shooting on campus. Now, they want to review that case, student newspaper The Exponent reported on Friday.

Purdue Police Chief John Cox issued a report on Feb. 22 finding no wrongdoing by his officers. However, he now wants to interview the photographer in order to re-visit some of the issues that were raised in the January complaints.

Cox indicated to the photographer in a letter, that he had not reviewed some information that might be useful to the investigation the first time around. That information includes a narrative from the photographer written within hours of his release, even though that information was included in the Exponent’s complaint.

Casey McDermott with Student Press Law Center wrote about the case on Friday as well.

Since the report was issued, the Exponent — which is also engaged in a public access dispute with the university over footage and other records related to the incident — has highlighted discrepancies between police officials’ and Takeda’s accounts of the situation.

For one, the Exponent has called into question the exact location of the confrontation: While police officials said Takeda was detained on the first floor of the building where the shooting occurred, Takeda said it happened on the second floor.

According to The Exponent, Takeda is cooperating with the investigation, and the police chief plans to review Takeda’s footage from that day.

In February, Purdue, through its spokesperson, indicated the chief’s original findings indicated the photographer was detained on the first floor where there were no security cameras. In actuality, the detention occurred on the second floor where there were multiple cameras.

The University has denied public access to that video evidence, citing an “investigatory” exception. That exception was the focus of a complaint to a state agency that acts as a go-between among public agencies and the courts.

After Takeda’s detention, the school paper and the National Press Photographers Association requested an investigation.

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