WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University Police Department officer will not be charged for his actions in the arrest of a student that went viral on social media in February.
The video shows Officer Jon Selke attempting to arrest student Adonis Tuggle on Friday, Feb. 4 near Harrison and Horticulture drives. According to the Purdue crime log, Tuggle was resisting law enforcement during the arrest.
The department said a caller witnessed two people arguing and was concerned a woman was being held against her will. In the video, the person recording identifies herself as Tuggle's girlfriend.
The officer is seen on top of Tuggle, while he and his girlfriend yell for the officer to get off the student. At one point, the officer has his forearm on Tuggle's neck, and the woman tries to move it away.
"Touch me again, ma'am, and I will tase you," Selke tells her.
NOTE: The video of the arrest contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Indiana State Police finished its investigation into the case and turned its findings over to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutors office on Feb. 22.
On that same day, the prosecutor's office filed a motion for a special prosecutor to "avoid the appearance of impropriety." Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings accepted the role of special prosecutor on Feb. 25.
That special prosecutor released findings of the investigation on April 11.
According to court documents, when Officer Selke arrived to what he was told was a domestic incident, he asked Tuggle to move to the back of the car. On body camera video, Tuggle ignores the officer's request. Tuggle then returns his girlfriend's phone and wallet to her and tells the officer he took them to "get her attention."
The body camera then allegedly shows Selke again asking Tuggle to move to the read of the car or he would be handcuffed. The video is said to show Tuggle ignoring the officer's command. As the officer places one handcuff on Tuggle's wrist, the video reportedly shows Tuggle begin to fight with the officer. The officer twice radios that he is involved in a fight. A minute and 30 seconds later, a second officer responds and Tuggle is placed in handcuffs.
The special prosecutor said analysis of the cellphone video taken by Tuggle's girlfriend shows Tuggle reaching around as Selke holds him down with Tuggle's hand coming in contact with the officer's handgun.
In a police interview, Tuggle reportedly tells the investigator, "The officer grabbed my arm and I tried to stop him in self-defense. I was fighting with the officer." Tuggle is then asked if he is hurt or injured in anyway and allegedly responds, "I'm fine."
The special prosecutor alleges that when Selke arrived at the domestic incident call, Tuggle was committing multiple crimes, including criminal confinement. The special prosecutor claims that when Tuggle began fighting with the officer, Indiana code allows for an officer to use "reasonable force if the officer reasonably believes that the force is necessary to effect a lawful arrest."
The prosecutor also claims that Tuggle's assertion that his actions were self-defense in stopping an arrest were not legal, "A citizen may not use force to resist a peaceful arrest..."
The prosecutor claims a review of the video does not show Selke at any point choke Tuggle.
The special prosecutor said Tuggle released a video, which failed to depict his own behavior that led to the police use of force. "His tactic was effective in provoking passion and deflecting criticism of his behavior," the special prosecutor wrote.
He went on to say, "The full investigation reveals Officer Selke did exactly as we expect our police officers to do. He intervened on behalf of the victim and successfully restrained Mr. Tuggle until backup arrived without injuring him. For that, Officer Selke should be commended, not vilified."
The special prosecutor did note that perhaps Selke could have spent more time attempting to deescalate the situation.
He also mentioned there was enough evidence to charge Tuggle, but the officer, representatives of Purdue University and Tuggle's then girlfriend all asked for Tuggle to not be charged.