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Purdue News / WBAA

University officials, Purdue Police, and Adonis Tuggle release joint statement after report on viral video made public

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Workers clean up graffiti left on the Purdue Bell Tower following the release of a report that found university police did not use excessive force during a student encounter in February. (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Purdue University police, officials, and student Adonis Tuggle put out a joint statement Tuesday following the release of findings from an investigation into a viral video.

On Monday, a special prosecutor released the findings of a months-long investigation into the video, in which Purdue Police Officer John Selke is shown restraining Tuggle. Many in the campus community said the video showed a clear case of excessive use of force, prompting university officials and the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor to call for an independent investigation.

But the special prosecutor's report found that Selke did not use excessive force - and determined not to bring charges against the officer. The report also noted that charges could have been brought against Tuggle, but in order to honor “the requests of Officer Selke, representatives of Purdue University, and the wishes of the victim”, those would be dropped.

The special prosecutor also said that Selke “could have spent more time” attempting to de-escalate the encounter.

In a written statement, Purdue President Mitch Daniels agreed, saying the incident “escalated too quickly” and outlined steps for improving Purdue policing that include de-escalation training and a review of use of force policies.

According to the release, Selke and Tuggle met to discuss the incident - with Selke apologizing for the “impact” of his actions.

“I have privately spoken with Adonis and his mother, Ms. Cornelia Dawson, to express my sincere apologies to them,” Selke said. “I fully acknowledge how my actions and the images of this event have called into question the safety and belonging of Purdue’s Black community. I am very sorry for that.”

Selke is “temporarily” performing administrative duties while undergoing de-escalation training.

In a brief statement, Tuggle said the experience showed him that Purdue was committed to providing “a healthy and safe environment for Black Boilermakers.”

Of his meeting with Selke, Tuggle said the conversation was a “productive” one. “I’m committed to working with him, the Purdue police, my fellow students, and the broader university community to forge a positive path forward,” he said.

Tuggle’s attorney, Andrew Stroth said he was grateful for the university’s response to the incident.

“I have never seen an institution respond so swiftly and positively with this kind of commitment to evaluating potential process improvements,” he said.

Members of Purdue’s Black Student Union declined to comment on the matter.

Not all members of the Purdue community seemed happy with the resolution, however. Following the release of Monday’s report, Purdue’s Bell Tower and Engineering Fountain were spray-painted with the slogan “ACAB” and the word “pigs.”