Student newspaper files suit against Purdue University

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By Kendall Downing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's student newspaper is suing the university for access to surveillance video, in a lawsuit backed by the ACLU of Indiana.

The paper, Purdue Exponent, is demanding the school release video from inside the electrical engineering building on January 21st. That's the day Andrew Boldt was shot and killed by a fellow student.

The video in question reportedly shows a student photographer getting roughed up by police.

Both the paper's publisher and the photographer involved believe the public has the right to see what went on in that hallway.

The basement classroom inside the Electrical Engineering building has windows still papered in black. The door is locked. It's the place where a teacher's assistant 21-year-old Andrew Boldt, lost his life back in January. Police said 23-year-old Cody Cousins, also a Purdue student, shot him.

But it's a hallway two floors up from that classroom that's now making headlines.

"We want the public to really be able to see what happened that day when police interacted with our photographer," said Pat Kuhnle, Publisher & General Manager of the Purdue Exponent.

Kuhnle said his staff photographer was mistreated by police. The lawsuit claims photographer Michael Takeda got to the second floor of the Electrical Engineering building by using a walkway, which wasn't blocked off. Takeda said he was shoved to the ground, cameras in hand, then into a wall, before being detained.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared," said Takeda.

Kuhnle said the paper wanted access to video from the security cameras on the second floor that caught the whole exchange. But the university's denied the records request, and the state's public access counselor upheld the decision, calling it an investigatory record, one compiled during the course of the investigation.

The ACLU maintains any information collected by cameras on the second floor does not fall within the investigatory records exception because it's not directly connected to the crime.

Kuhnle doesn't buy the rationale because he said the university showed him and photographer Michael Takeda the video.

"I don't know how it can be considered not public, because I'm part of the public. I'm not a police officer. I'm not an attorney for the university, so I think that changed the status of their argument," said Kuhnle.

Purdue University in a statement Tuesday maintained they followed the requirements of the Access to Public Records Act.

Purdue will have a chance to file a response to the lawsuit. You can read the full document here, Purdue lawsuit.

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