A new video shows Dr. Ersula Ore, a professor at Arizona State University, body slammed by a police officer after being stopped for jaywalking near campus. But it’s Ore who is facing charges for resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and other crimes.
The incident occurred on May 20 when Ore, an English professor who teaches classes on Race Critical Theory among other topics, crossed the street, she says to avoid construction. She was stopped by Officer Stewart Ferrin, who works for campus police, and Ferrin demanded to see her ID. From there, the situation quickly escalated:
OFFICER: Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID
ORE: Are you serious?
OFFICER: Yes, I’m serious. That is the law. If you don’t understand the law I’m explaining the law to you...
ORE: …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. 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.’…
OFFICER: Are you aware this is a street?
ORE: Let me finish
OFFICER: OK, put your hands behind your back
ORE: Don’t touch me, get your hands off me…
OFFICER: …Put your hands behind your back right now. I’m going to slam you on this car. Put your hand behind your back
ORE: You really want to do that? Do you see what I’m wearing? Do you see?
OFFICER: I don’t care what you are wearing.
ORE: Don’t talk to me like that. This entire thing has been about your lack of respect for me.
The situation devolved from there. The video depicts Ore being slammed to ground by Ferrin and then handcuffed with the assistance of another officer. Ore’s attorney claims that her body was exposed during the arrest. The police claim that, at some point in the altercation Ore “kicked the officer in the shin.” That is not captured in the dashcam video, which has been released:
Nevertheless, Ore will be charged with “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.” After reviewing the video and other evidence, ASU determined there was “no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved.”
Unfortunately, this kind of incident is not uncommon. Last year another African American academic was subject to harsh treatment by the police when she was pulled over for a broken license plate tag holder.
A 2003 study in the Justice Policy Journal found “racially discriminatory policing is a white versus people of color problem, specifically interpersonal conflict between white police officers and people of color.” Further, recent Supreme Court cases have empower a “racist police officer to elevate the effects of racial profiling by allowing him discretion as to whether to issue a citation or to take a person into custody for minor traffic violations and fine-only misdemeanors.”