Ersula Ore, center, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. (Source: CBS 5 News)
ASU professor arrested (Source: ASU PD)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
An Arizona State University professor arrested by campus police and who accused her arresting officer of using excessive force pleaded guilty to resisting arrest.
Ersula Ore entered her plea to the misdemeanor offense in Maricopa County Superior Court on Wednesday morning as part of a plea deal in which a felony count of aggravated assault and two other charges were dismissed.
CBS 5 News obtained video of the incident which occurred on May 20. The video shows an altercation between campus police Officer Stewart Ferrin and Ore, an Arizona State assistant English professor.
According to court records, Ore was spotted walking northbound in the middle of College Avenue, south of Fifth Street in Tempe. The altercation began when Ferrin asked Ore to walk on the sidewalk.
"The reason I'm talking to you right now is because you're walking in the middle of the street," Ferrin told Ore on an audio recording. "Let me see your ID."
The conversation took a turn when Ore did not provide proof of identification.
"I understand the law," Ore replied. "All I asked you was, 'Why did you have to speak to me in such a disrespectful manner?'"
Ore explained to the officer that she was in the street because construction work had other walk areas obstructed. Seconds later, Ferrin replied.
"Are you aware this is a street?" he asked. "Put your hands behind your back."
"Don't touch me," Ore said. "Get your hands off me."
The altercation becomes physical as Ore and Ferrin move to the front of the vehicle, into view of the cruiser's dash cam.
"I'm going to slam you on this car if you don't put your hand behind your back," Ferrin said.
"Do you really want to do that?" Ore asked. "Don't talk to me like this, this entire thing has been about your lack of respect."
The video shows Ferrin forcefully bringing Ore to the ground. Both Ferrin and Ore suffered minor injuries.
Ore was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and obstructing a thoroughfare.
ASU released a statement regarding the arrest:
"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."
For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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