February 11, 2022

Purdue Black Student Union holds town hall after video surfaces of police officer forcefully restraining student

A another photo for those interested: Purdue Student Fatoumata Binta Balde discusses police reforms she'd like to see on campus. - Ben Thorp/WBAA

A another photo for those interested: Purdue Student Fatoumata Binta Balde discusses police reforms she'd like to see on campus.

Ben Thorp/WBAA

The Purdue Black Student Union held a packed town hall Thursday night to discuss how to respond after a video surfaced this week of a Purdue police officer forcefully restraining a student.

The incident was first reported by the Purdue Exponent. The video shows Purdue Police Officer Jon Selke lying on top of student Adonis Tuggle and putting his elbow over Tuggle’s throat.

Tuggle’s girlfriend, who recorded the video, can be heard telling the officer to get his elbow “off my boyfriend’s neck.”

In their initial statement on the event, Purdue police said Selke was responding to a call about a woman “being held against her will.”

The video has since prompted Purdue President Mitch Daniels to launch an internal investigation into the officer's handling of the situation, as well as an independent review conducted by the Indiana State Police. In a statement, Daniels said “there are no subjects Purdue takes more seriously than campus safety, student well-being, and proper police conduct.”

Daniels also promised to release the investigation's findings, including body camera footage, after the review concludes.

Selke has since been placed on a leave of absence, which Purdue Police Chief John Cox attributed to death threats the officer and department have received.

At the town hall, student Zion Moss said police officer training is 14 weeks - less than a college freshman will have by the end of their first year.

“A semester is not enough time to certify me to build a rocket, it’s not enough time to certify a therapist, it’s not enough time to even learn how to do basic math for half the majors on this campus. So why is fourteen weeks enough to train and certify someone to be trained with a license to kill,” he said. “One solution I want to see is increased training for police officers here on campus.”

Student Fatoumata Balde said she wants to see Purdue Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff show up to a scene with police.

“I feel like if an officer is going to show up on scene he has to show up with another officer and or a CAPS member so the thing doesn’t escalate with one person on their own,” she said.

Nigel Taylor is the vice president of the Purdue Black Student Union. He said they will take student input in creating a list of demands and take those to the university.

“We want to logically plan our steps of actions and what do we want to advocate for,” he said. “This is a meeting to get thought together and make sure we’re on the same page in terms of what we want to list out as grievances and to whom.”

There is no deadline for a draft of those demands to be created.

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