By Amy Berberyan and Keana Fortier-Sauray
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – After the release of video showing Purdue University Police Officer Jon Selke using excessive force on Purdue student Adonis Tuggle, the Purdue Student Government (PSG) released an email condemning Selke’s actions.
In the email, PSG acknowledged that Tuggle “was choked and pinned against a mound of snow and ice.”
The evidentiary video, filmed by Tuggle’s girlfriend after Tuggle had been forced to the ground, showed Selke with his elbow and forearm pressed into Tuggle’s throat. Selke was unwilling to move and threatened to use his Taser on Tuggle’s girlfriend when she attempted to intervene.
“No matter the circumstance,” said the email, “none of us should ever have to undergo or see any of our peers experience the aggressive act of police brutality.”
PSG stressed the vulnerability caused by this incident, especially among students of color.
“This incident has highlighted yet again,” continued the email, “a level of racism and injustice that is deeply rooted not only in our campus community but across the nation, and we are witnessing firsthand how the lack of action surrounding police reform continues to impact disparaged communities.”
The email went on to highlight how police officers have consistently “unjustly abused their power” as a result of not being properly trained in de-escalation methods.
PSG called for “sweeping reforms” to prevent the Purdue Police force from being swayed by outside forces that encouraged Selke’s actions.
“Unfortunately, our community did not implement these reforms aiming at stopping police brutality soon enough, and their lack of preventative action and consistent accountability resulted in harm inflicted on a Boilermaker,” wrote PSG.
They condemned Selke’s behavior as “highly disturbing” and encouraged students to “stand against this act of violence.”
PSG extended their “network and advocacy” to Tuggle and maintained that “as Boilermakers, it is our civic duty to work together and support those who are in a constant battle against police brutality, especially on our very own campus.
“And above all,” PSG continued, “we must work together to bring forth a safe and loving community for all members where violence will no longer be a catalyst of injustice.”
The email concluded with a demand to end police brutality.
Following his release, Tuggle took to Instagram to share the incident and claimed that the officer punched him, elbowed him, smothered his face in the snow and attempted to choke him with his elbow during the tussle.
He also shared that the Purdue Police Department refused to give him the bodycam footage, and he demanded “justice” by asking people to hold Officer Selke responsible for his actions.
Tuggle’s civil rights attorney, Andrew Stroth, said that Tuggle and his family demanded a full investigation into the case and the release of police body cam footage.
Officer Selke was set for a leave of absence initiated by the Purdue University Police Department’s Chief of Police, John Cox, because of alleged death threats that the officer and department received.
Meanwhile, Adonis’ plea for support seemed to spread quickly. Several social media users took to Twitter to condemn the police officer and demand justice for Tuggle.
“[sic] So they put the purdue officer on leave due to threats, but not due to him being overly aggressive to a citizen ?? i’m not surprised , but i did expect better from purdue,” said one Twitter user.
The Purdue Graduate Student Government organization issued a statement Thursday afternoon in support of Tuggle, noting that “we condemn all police violence that disproportionately harms Black communities.
“We stand by Adonis Tuggle!” the statement continued. “We open our arms in solidarity with our fellow Boilermaker and vow to increase awareness around this incident, advocate, and provide help and support.”