TEMPE, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas) – An Arizona State University English professor is claiming self-defense against a campus police officer who slammed her to the front of a police car last month.
Dr. Ersula Ore was walking near campus when she was stopped by an officer while crossing College Avenue near Fifth Street.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWQ8pb2-2d8?w=330&h=197]
“The reason I’m talking to you right now is because you are walking in the middle of the street,” Officer Stewart Ferrin said in a video recording obtained by KTVK. “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID.”
“Are you serious?” Ore asked.
“Yes, I am serious. That is the law,” Ferrin replied.
The professor stated that she was trying to cross College Avenue like several other people around her in an attempt to avoid construction, a police report explained.
“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 told 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.’ ”
Ferrin asked her if she knew that it was street. Before Ore could finish her statement, he demanded that she put her hands behind her back.
“Don’t touch me,” Ore said. “Get your hands off me.”
The officer demanded for her to comply again.
“Put your hand behind your back. I’m going to slam you on this car. Put your hand behind your back,” Ferrin stated.
“You really want to do that? Do you see what I’m wearing? Do you see?” Ore said.
At the time of the incident the professor was wearing a black dress. The police officer “slammed” her onto the car and she was then wrestled to the ground where her dress rose exposing her body.
Ferrin and Ore suffered minor injuries and she was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal damage and obstructing a thoroughfare.
The video shows Ore also kicking Ferrin while he was arresting her.
Ore plans to fight the charges and her attorney, Alane Roby, explained that she responded in self-defense.
“She was exposed, told officer she was exposed,” Roby stated of Ore to KTVK. “Her dress was up; the officer was reaching toward her anatomy. She felt uncomfortable with hands going there.”
The university released a statement to KTVK explaining that “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.”