Purdue Cops Throw Student Journalist To Ground, Seize His Camera And Detain Him For Three Hours

from the we'll-let-you-know-what-your-rights-are-once-we've-finished-violating-th dept

Cops vs. cameras: the apparently never ending battle continues. A student photojournalist at Purdue found himself on the receiving end of a little extra "attention" while attempting to cover Tuesday's on-campus shooting.

In the midst of Tuesday’s shooting, an Exponent employee was detained by the police while trying to fulfill his journalistic duties.

Exponent photo editor Michael Takeda, a junior in the College of Technology, was slammed to the ground by the Purdue Police after being found in the Electrical Engineering Building taking photos. The area had not been closed off to the public at the time.

The officers confiscated Takeda’s camera and photos, detained and questioned his whereabouts within the building, which was then on lockdown after being held by the police for roughly three hours.
While it's somewhat understandable that the campus police might be a bit on edge while looking for a shooter, that doesn't excuse any of the actions they took when they came across Takeda. (You can see his article on the shooting here.) It shouldn't have taken three hours to determine whether Takeda was involved in the shooting and his presence in a building that hadn't been "locked down" should not have been greeted with the use of force. Those who say people who are "doing nothing wrong" shouldn't fear police officers might want to reexamine that assertion in light of Takeda's experience. One also wonders whether the presence of the camera escalated the officers' physical response.

The police finally let Takeda go after detaining him for three hours but they had no interest in returning his equipment to him until someone higher up the ladder at Purdue interceded on his behalf.
[I]it was only after Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, prodded the University that Takeda’s belongings were bequeathed to him.

“They were very cooperative, and they recognized right away that this was a serious situation that required their immediate attention,” LoMonte said.

LoMonte said, though the University was helpful in releasing Takeda’s belongings, it was just the police’s instinct to retrieve his belongings, despite the possible infringement of a federal law.
By "retrieve," I assume LoMonte means "seize." Notwithstanding this oral typo, what LoMonte says next is both unsurprising and sad.
“Honestly I think almost nobody knows that is the law, not even lawyers,” LoMonte laughed.
LoMonte may be laughing but I don't think I'll be joining him. People who are charged with enforcing laws or keeping clients out of jail should be familiar with the laws that are an integral part of their jobs. The law LoMonte refers to isn't a recent development prompted by the ubiquity of smartphone cameras. It's been on the books for more than 30 years and was crafted in response to an incident at another college, Stanford University.
“(It) specifically says that the police cannot confiscate or search where journalists keep their unpublished work product unless they first go in front of a judge and give the journalist the chance to argue his side,” LoMonte said
Now, police have ways around this limitation -- the always-useful "exigent situation" exception. This is supposed to be used only when the safety of officers or the public is immediately threatened. In reality, the exception is most frequently used to ask for post-rights violation "forgiveness." The Purdue officers didn't cite this exception, but it will probably be deployed if Takeda decides to make some more noise about his treatment. Is it really too much to ask for law enforcement officers to know and respect the laws governing their actions?



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:05am

    Was it a professional camera? I mean, considering previous claims from officers that you can turn cameras into weapons than a professional camera would be akin to a missile launcher so until they could confirm it was *ONLY* a camera their actions are justified.

    Ahem.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:47am

    they are not interested in the slightest in doing anything except what they want. the have authority and power and instead of using in a manner to make the public respect and cooperate, they use it in the ways of a dictator. that is because there have been way too many examples of the police getting away scot free with all manner of actual crimes themselves, including murder!!

     

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  3.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 3:52am

    "“Honestly I think almost nobody knows that is the law, not even lawyers,” LoMonte laughed."
    And he should be fired.

    "executive director of the Student Press Law Center"
    Laughing and ignoring a law he should be well aware of, he is at worst incompetent at best has no business running ANYTHING that has to do with law if he is this ignorant of something that isn't a 300 yr old weird law about walking a duck on a leash on a sunday.

    As for the officers I expect we will see charges for violating the law that they are duty bound to uphold, isn't the quote ignorance of the law is no excuse?
    If we allow them some sort of pass, then why have any laws at all? If we don't feel like it and won't be punished what is the point? Or is this one of those do as we demand, not as we do?

    The job is to uphold the law and the absolute failure at every level at this University should require a serious review of what exactly they are paying these people to do, because none of them did what their job requires.

     

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  4.  
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    saulgoode (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 4:01am

    Minor correction (credit where due)

    The byline of the linked article says it was written by editor Taylor Carlier, not by Michael Takeda.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 4:07am

    Look out, he's got a camera!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    me@me.net, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 4:31am

    LAWSUIT!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Dr Duck, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:13am

    "Takeda’s belongings were bequeathed to him"

    Really? Who died?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    "Honestly I think almost nobody knows that is the law, not even lawyers, LoMonte laughed."

    Yeah, it's the law because I just made that shit up = now stop resisting

     

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  9.  
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    AricTheRed (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:18am

    In my experience "Law Enforcement Officers" are less concerned with what is legal than what can be "proven" in court.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Christopher (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Stop trespassing.

    Oh, you have press credentials? Great. You're still under arrest and oh, if you don't like how you've been arrested, we'd love your suggestions on how to improve. The job is stressful and we'll take humor where we can get it.

     

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  11.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Re: Stop trespassing.

    Enlighten us, who was trespassing? It was a publicly accessible building, and one that hadn't been closed to the public at the time, so he had as much right to be there as anyone else did.

    As for suggestions, perhaps police could learn the gorram law they're trying to enforce(rather than just going off of what they think and/or want it to be), that would seem to be a good start.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    The Law

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:33am

    obviously this kids the shooter who imediately proceeded to stick around after the crime and then imediatly proceded to take photos of the crime, until officers could have the chance to see him doing it and imediatly proceed to see him as a suspect

    Duh!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re:

    I'm was a caminator 1000 and when you pull the trigger it's done it never stops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Re: Stop trespassing.

    Here's an idea for improvement: stop palling around with kiddy diddlers.

    Police Department Rewards Officer Caught By An Online Pedophile Sting With Full Retirement Benefits

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Re: Stop trespassing.

    Feeling hurt? Trolling much mr officer? Or are you a relative of an officer? Because if you read the article right you'll see there was no reason to have the guy arrested. The fact that he came clear of any accusations is further evidence that the police overreacted.

    Also, trespassing what if he is a student there and therefore is allowed in the campus?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Stop trespassing.

    I honestly think his comment was sarcasm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    WTF is a professional camera? I know that camera manufacturers have certain models that they deem "Professional" grade which just means that they are built more sturdy and are devoid of many of the hand-holding consumer grade features that professionals will never use. Still there are many professional photographers that use and sometimes even prefer some of the "consumer" and "pro-sumer" line models. At the end of the day, a camera, any camera, is just a box with a hole in the end of it to let light in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Stop trespassing.

    If only, if his commenting history is any indication, assuming he isn't trolling, the reason he always seems to jump in to defend cops going overboard like this is because he's likely one of those cops that give the rest a bad name, and hence probably sees nothing wrong with cops abusing their authority or roughing up a suspect.

     

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  20.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re:

    I'd imagine a DSLR would be considered professional. If you're Joe Bloe and just want to snap some photos you'll more than likely just use your smartphone, but hobbyists on up to professionals use DSLRs. There are features such as DOV, aperture, swappable lenses, colour/angle/lighting adjustment. Also, the number of pixels - your average smartphone has an 8 megapixel camera, while a DSLR has 20 and up.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Isair, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    " Is it really too much to ask for law enforcement officers to know and respect the laws governing their actions?"

    Yes, yes it is, apparently.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Re: Stop trespassing.

    He wasn't trespassing. Even if he was, though, in what world is it a reasonable response to throw a nonthreatening trespass suspect to the ground and detain him for three hours?? I think simply writing a citation and escorting him out would be sufficient.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    Well he laughed, yes, but he wasn't ignoring the law. He was the one who pressed the campus cops to follow the law and give the guys belongings back. It was everyone else who should be fired.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Stop trespassing.

    Even if he was trespassing, it is really hard to convicted someone of it, at least in Washington. In Washington the trespassing sign or signs have to be visible from all areas on entry to count. Then the trespasser is ask to leave the premises by an officer and informed that he/she is trespassing. They can only be detained and or arrested if they try to continue trespassing in that area after the warning.

     

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  25.  
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    krolork (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Fuck the police.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Techdirt just hates enforcement of laws and law enforcement.

    Edgy stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    Asshole cops just hate it when civilians know the law better than they do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    LEO's

    As I understand, in the US as a rule A priority when hiring new Law Enforcement Officers (police) is not intelligence but obedience to authority. Training also pushes the theory, subdue and arrest, someone else will check the legality of my actions, and if I did make a "mistake" someone else will clean up the mess,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    The Constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Of course the kid was the shooter, he had a camera and was shooting at the time! You use a camera to shoot pictures and the police had reports of a shooting in progress. Therefore, they caught the shooter red-handed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 1:33pm

    retrieve

    All belongings belong to the State, and thus to the Police. The Police were merely retrieving their belongings from the criminal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    "Really? Who died?"

    The First Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of America.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 24th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re:

    He is the director of the Student Press Law Center and at no point actually shared the law of the land with the other people sharing payroll with him from the university?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Woadan (profile), Jan 25th, 2014 @ 2:41am

    Haven't we been told in the past by judges, lawyers, and the police that ignorance of the law is no excuse?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    george, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 4:16am

    Welcome to the Jeu World Order

    "the truth is no defense"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Joseph, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 7:28am

    Sad but ye

    " Is it really too much to ask for law enforcement officers to know and respect the laws governing their actions?"
    Sad but yes. Ignorance of the law is only innocence if you are an authority. That fact that these people are the ones that "should know" the most is irrelevant to them.

    Here is what Lamonte meant to say “Honestly I think almost everybody knows that is the law, especially lawyers, However, it is considered rude to ask police officers to follow proper procedure and law.”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Professionals use their phones at times too. To a professional, it all depends on what is the best and most comfortable tool that they have on hand because it isn't the arrow. It's the Indian that makes the difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Stop trespassing.

    I hadn't looked at his comment history. It's pretty bad when your point is so ridiculous that taken at face value it appears to be sarcasm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 9:08am

    Re: Stop trespassing.

    Ok Cartman, now go back down and have some more Cheesy Poofs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Don Cordell, Jan 25th, 2014 @ 11:17pm

    Constitutional Rights

    More and more the police seize and confiscate and ignore our Rights, daring citizens to complain for fear they will be treated worse the next time for Demanding Rights, who do we think we are American Citizens? It is getting worse since Indiana Supreme Court decided any office may force entry to your residence IF they believe you might be doing something illegal. We have lost our nation, until we ReVote and Restore our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Peaceful complaints about our Rights are considered reason to abuse us more, until we learn to Cooperate, and obey. I was born in Indpls in 1927. He was lucky to get his camera, as Asset Confiscation is the new norm. Got to steal money from the citizens, then dare citizens to try to get recovery. Time to Pray, until they close our churches too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2014 @ 4:30am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks for making my day. Same to Zonker and RD. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 26th, 2014 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re:

    AFAIK a professional camera is just a camera with features. It has nothing to do whether it's suitable for the use of a professional, or it takes professional quality photos.

    The list of features are things like: settings for shutter speed, exposure, etc all accessible by dials instead of a menu. Swappable lens. A really fast flash sync speed. Probably, be somewhat "rugged".

    Oh, and expensive enough that professional photographers normally can't buy one ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Americanegro, Jan 26th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Idiots!

    Lamonte is an idiot and should be fired. Law school is not rocket science.

    Campus police is where you go when you're not smart enough for a job as a prison guard. Those guys need a thorough raping.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Archie1954, Jan 26th, 2014 @ 6:52pm

    Purdue

    Poor kid went to the wrong school. Purdue is a nothing, a scumbag collection of debased fools pretending to higher scholarship. Who in their right minds would want to be "educated" there. The debasement would be horrendous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 27th, 2014 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re:

    Nervous much?

    Normal cameras are those with fewer features and lack of good optical zoom, semi-professional are those that allow much more fine tuning without changing lenses and professional are those that accept multiple types of lenses depending on the need and allow further tuning. I'm not saying that professionals must use them. I've seen pros using mobile phone cameras and getting awesome shots.

    At the end of the day, a camera, any camera, is just a box with a hole in the end of it to let light in.

    That line clearly shows you know nothing about photography. While the physics behind them are the same the quality of various components of the camera are key for a quality shot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Feb 11th, 2014 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Stop trespassing.

    I initially misread that link as meaning "An online pedophile sting with full retirement benefits caught the rewards officer of a a police department"...

    The actual interpretation makes more sense, though of course it's highly objectionable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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