This is a copy of a letter published in The Purdue Exponent, April 9, 2001, p.6.
Also online from the newspaper.
Please cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 2001. “Police Use Web Site Inappropriately.” Letter. The Purdue Exponent, April 9, 2001, p.6.
I agree with the Exponent's editorial that the Purdue Police pictures site is extremely inappropriate. All students actively involved in the riots should be punished in accordance with our system of law and the policies of the University. However, through the ill-advised pictures campaign, innocent people risk the chance of stigmatization and other punishments they do not deserve. Sadly, the Purdue Police brands the people on the pictures it posts as "suspected offenders," though their involvement has not been proven and the pictures are often less than conclusive.
I therefore ask students, faculty and staff of Purdue University to not engage in any cooperation with the Purdue Police's ill-conceived picture campaign. At best, anybody on the pictures should be asked to seek legal counsel and turn themselves in to avoid even more trouble. We should all do what we can to make sure that the rioters are brought to justice in ways that do not violate their constitutional rights and that, at the same time, will be successful in deterring anybody from ever again disgracing our university in the future.
In response, I have put up a Web page with information (including pictures) of some of those involved in the Purdue Police campaign. See: Purdue Police Riot Pictures? Fighting Fire With Fire! (archived)