A Purdue University police officer was filmed pinning a black student to the ground using his elbow. As the video went viral, the officer was put on a leave of absence. The incident sparked outrage across social media and otherwise. The student was identified as 24-year-old Adonis Tuggle.
Tuggle told the Associated Press that the officer punched him and pinned him to the ground, and put his elbow on his neck. The incident was captured on camera by Tuggle's girlfriend. "You're choking me," Tuggle could be heard yelling in the video during the February 4 scuffle.
According to a statement by the University, the unnamed officer was placed on leave after he and the department 'received death threats.' The statement did not explain the nature of the threats but noted that the University launched an investigation into the incident.
'You're hurting him'
According to a statement by Purdue University, a bystander called the campus police on Friday evening reporting an incident involving a woman being held against her will near Horticulture Drive on Purdue's campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. A Purdue Police officer responded to the scene to find Tuggle and his girlfriend reportedly fighting, Tuggle's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth told Insider.
"Someone nearby I think thought it was more serious than it was, and so they called the police," Stroth said, before adding that an officer arrived and started 'yelling' at Tuggle and his girlfriend. "And the next thing you know, he's taking him down and beating him up and trying to choke him," he added.
In the video filmed by Tuggle's girlfriend, she could be heard shouting "you're hurting him," and "take your elbow off his neck." She tapped the officer on the arm, in response to which, he threatened to use a taser on her.
'Tuggle feared for his life'
Stroth told the outlet that Tuggle 'couldn't breathe' and that he 'feared for his life.'
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Tuggle was charged with resisting arrest and booked in Tippecanoe County Jail. He, however, bailed himself out on a $250 bond. The outlet reported that hundreds of students gathered outside the campus protesting the incident.
University President Mitch Daniels noted in a statement that if the officer is found guilty of misconduct, 'appropriate action will be taken against him promptly.'
Stroth noted that Tuggle had been in counseling since the incident. "Physically he's okay. I mean, he's bruised up a little," he added. In a letter to Daniels, Tuggle's mother demanded he 'do everything within your power to hold the Purdue University police officer accountable for hurting my son.'