June 28, 2014, AZFamily.com,
TEMPE, Ariz. — An Arizona State University professor who was arrested by campus police last month is claiming self-defense, and the incident is getting a whole lot more attention now that 3TV has obtained video of it.
“The reason I’m talking to you right now is because you are walking in the middle of the street,” Officer Stewart Ferrin said to ASU professor Dr. Ersula Ore after stopping her near campus. She was crossing College Avenue, just south of Fifth Street.
But in less than a minute, the conversation quickly began to escalate.
“Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID,” Ferrin said.
“Are you serious?” Ore asked.
“Yes, I am serious. That is the law,” Ferrin replied.
According to police reports, Ore said she was trying to cross College Avenue in the same fashion as several others trying to avoid construction.
“I never once saw a single solitary individual get pulled over by a cop for walking across a street on a campus, in a campus location. Everybody has been doing this because it is all obstructed. That’s the reason why,” Ore said to the officer. “But you stop me in the middle of the street to pull me over and ask me, ‘Do you know what this is? This is a street.’ ”
“Are you aware that this is a street?” Ferrin asked.
“Let me finish,” Ore said.
“OK, put your hands behind your back,” Ferrin said.
“Don’t touch me,” Ore said. “Get your hands off me.”
Seconds later, things escalated even further.
“Put your hand behind your back. I’m going to slam you on this car. Put your hand behind your back,” Ferrin said.
“You really want to do that? Do you see what I’m wearing? Do you see?” Ore said.
She was wearing a black dress and after being “slammed” onto the car, she was wrestled to the ground. Her dress hiked up and her body was exposed.
While both Ore and Ferrin suffered some minor injuries, Ore was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer in addition to criminal damage and obstructing a thoroughfare. She intends to fight the charges.
Ore’s attorney, Alane Roby, says Ore is claiming self-defense.
“She was exposed, told officer she was exposed,” Roby said of her client while she was on the ground. “Her dress was up; the officer was reaching toward her anatomy. She felt uncomfortable with hands going there.”
Professor Ore is an English professor whose research interests include cultural studies, according to ASU’s website.
ASU released this statement to 3TV:
“ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved. Should such evidence be discovered, an additional, thorough inquiry will be conducted and appropriate actions taken.
“Because the underlying criminal charges are pending, there is not much more we can say at this time. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has reviewed all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements, and audio and video recordings of the incident, and decided to press criminal charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, refusing to provide identification when requested to do so by an officer, and obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare.”
Statement from ASU Sunday night:
“ASU authorities have reviewed the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the arrest of Assistant Professor Ersula Ore and have found that the officer involved did not violate protocol and no evidence was found of racial motivation by the ASU Police Department officers involved.
“However, the ASU Police Department is enlisting an outside law-enforcement agency to conduct an independent review on whether excessive force was used and if there was any racial motivation by the officers involved.
“In addition, although no university police protocols were violated, university police are conducting a review of whether the officer involved could have avoided the confrontation that ensued.
“According to the police report, ASU Police initially spoke to Assistant Professor Ore because officers patrolling the area nearly hit her with their police vehicle as they turned the vehicle onto College Avenue to investigate a disabled vehicle. Officer Stewart Ferrin had no intention of citing or arresting Ore, but for her safety told her to walk on the sidewalk. When Ore refused to comply and refused to provide identification after she was asked for it multiple times, she was subsequently arrested.
“The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has independently reviewed all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements, and audio and video recordings of the incident, and decided to press criminal charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, refusing to provide identification when requested to do so by an officer, and obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare. The charge of assaulting an officer is based on the fact that Dr. Ore kicked the officer as is shown on the video and as she admitted in her recorded statements to the police.”