Arizona State Univ. professor gets probation for altercation with campus police
By David Schwartz
MESA Ariz. (Reuters) – An Arizona professor was sentenced on Friday to nine months’ probation for scuffling with campus police after being stopped for walking in the middle of a street at night.
Ersula Ore, an assistant English professor at Arizona State University, must also perform 50 hours of community service stemming from the May 20 confrontation under a plea deal in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Under the agreement, the 33-year-old faculty member pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest in the incident that was captured on a police car’s camera and broadcast widely.
In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated assault and three other misdemeanors.
In emotional remarks, Ore told the court the incident had changed her life forever and that she still believed she was unjustly abused.
“I am hurt. I’m upset. I am angry. I feel dirty and I feel violated,” said Ore, choking back tears. “I am humiliated.”
She admitted she made a mistake in questioning her arrest, but maintained she was treated like “less than a human being.”
Her attorney, Alane Roby, had called for a sentence of one-day’s probation, telling the court that Ore did not need court supervision and would not repeat her mistake. Roby maintained the arrest was unlawful.
The confrontation began when arresting officer Stewart Ferrin stopped Ore and ordered her to show her identification.
In the blurry video, she is seen struggling with Ferrin as he tries to handcuff her, and they then wrestle on the ground before a second officer arrives to help subdue Ore.
At one point, the video appears to show Ore kicking Ferrin in what her attorney said was self-defense.
Ore has said her civil rights were violated, and supporters and civil rights activists raised questions about possible police brutality and racial profiling by the officer. Ore is an African-American.
But a preliminary probe by university police found claims of excessive force or racial profiling to be unfounded. Officials asked the FBI to look into the incident to determine whether there were any civil rights violations.
An FBI spokesman said on Friday the case remained under review. Ferrin is on paid administrative leave.
(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)
[Image: “Angry cop,” via Shutterstock]