Purdue plans to reconsider investigation into photographer's detention

INDIANA — Purdue University plans to revisit its investigation into police treatment of a student photographer who was detained shortly after a fatal campus shooting, saying it wants to look over information that wasn’t taken into consideration previously.

Campus police confronted Purdue Exponent photo editor Michael Takeda after he attempted to photograph inside a campus building near where the shooting occurred, detaining him for several hours and seizing his camera equipment.

Purdue spokeswoman Shelley Triol confirmed the university’s plans via email, citing “additional evidence that was not disclosed to the Department prior to Chief [John] Cox’s February 20 report.”

Triol did not specify what evidence prompted the reconsideration but said the university — through its outside counsel, Stuart and Branigin LLP — explained its position in an April 28 letter to attorney Steven Badger, who is representing both Takeda and the Exponent.

Badger and Purdue Exponent publisher Pat Kuhnle confirmed that Cox has asked to re-interview Takeda. Another Purdue investigator, not the police chief, interviewed Takeda the first time around.

Badger said the university has also asked to review Takeda’s written account and images he took the day of the incident.

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.

The initial report also drew criticism from Purdue Exponent officials and the National Press Photographers Association, who said it failed to adequately address concerns about the manner in which campus police confronted the photographer and seized his equipment.

By Casey McDermott, SPLC staff writer. Contact McDermott by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 123.