Professor Ersula Ore Says She Tried to Stop Cop from "Reaching Under My Skirt"
Assistant Professor Ersula Ore, suing for $2 million, makes her case in a newly released public statement.
Professor Ersula Ore, convicted for resisting arrest and suing ASU for $2 million, is defiant as ever in a new statement that blames Officer Stewart Ferrin for her troubles.
"While I requested he respect the exercise of my constitutional rights, his anger clearly grew to frightening proportions. He unjustifiably grabbed me and threw me to the ground with the excessive force that he wrongfully believed his badget permitted him to use. When he stood me up handcuffed, he reached toward my thighs. I reacted trying to deflect what I thought was him reaching under my skirt."
She's still declining to be interviewed by the news media, including New Times.
Ore was convicted of resisting arrest in a plea bargain with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that dismissed three other charges, including Obstruction of a Public Thoroughfare. The latter charge was the basis for stopping Ore on May 20 while she was walking across College Avenue in Tempe, but Ore maintains he had no right to stop her. He became angry when she dared question her detainment, she says.
The dash-cam video of Ore being thrown to the ground by Ferrin went viral, causing a public relations nightmare for ASU. After initially finding Ferrin had done nothing wrong, the university changed its mind following the public firestorm and moved to fire him. He's been granted a temporary reprieve, but his job still appears to be in jeopardy.
Ore, as mentioned, is suing ASU and Ferrin for $2 million.
Below is Ore's full statement:
"Officer Ferrin's blind confidence that a badge legitimates his actions should frighten the community at large. His current misfortune -- the potential loss of his job and the benefits that come with that job -- is a consequence of his actions against me and others citizens. The fact that he has five citizen-complaints in two years on the force (more than twice the number of any officer) are an illustration of his continual breach of his oath to serve and protect the community.
"On the evening of May 20, 2014, I, along with several other pedestrians, was crossing a street closed to traffic at every outlet. Officer Ferrin turned down this pedestrian-friendly street at the only access point passing a "Street Closed" sign. I saw his patrol vehicle and when I wasn't sure if he was going to continue to drive toward me, I stopped so that he could continue. It was at this point I was treated with clear disdain and disrespect, being yelled at from his car door and thereafter physically accosted.
"The unwarranted manner in which he treated me was not something I could ignore. He had no reason to single me out and detain me amongst the other pedestrians, or to talk to me in such a disrespectful manner and demand my driver's license when -- under the circumstances -- I had done nothing wrong. It was at this point that I had to decide which was more important; respect for one authority figure with a badge or the respect for the Constitution of the United States that protects each citizen from unlawful search and seizure. Under the Constitution I have the right to ask why I am being detained and I chose to exercise my Constitutional Rights by asking him why I had to show my ID if I did not do anything wrong.
"While I requested he respect the exercise of my Constitutional Rights, his anger clearly grew to frightening proportions. He unjustifiably grabbed me and threw me to the ground with the excessive force that he wrongfully believed his badge permitted him to use. When he forcefully stood me up handcuffed, he reached toward my thighs. I reacted trying to deflect what I thought was him reaching under my skirt.
"As retribution and a pretext, Officer Ferrin then charged me with an unwarranted and fabricated felony Aggravated Assault charge that could further impact my employment, my life and my ability to further exercise my Constitutional Rights forever. In the following months I weighed my options and, eventually, I pled guilty to resisting Officer Ferrin's unjustified attack on me. I was scared, I couldn't risk my employment, my right to vote, my right to bear arms. Though I felt that I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't want to risk having a felony on my record for the rest of my life.
"The Maricopa County Attorney's Office dropped all of the unwarranted and fabricated charges in exchange for a misdemeanor resolution that would conclusively preserve my rights and my future.
"If you have seen the dash-cam video of this incident you will understand the pain and degradation of being detained and attacked by a police officer whose duty is to serve and protect.
"What the media and general public have done with this factual information is a result of what can be seen in the video. Crossing a closed street is not a "criminal act," nor is asking questions of an officer of the law. What the discussion continues to forget is that I was detained without me violating any law. I will continue to remind the community that the 'Obstructing a Highway or Other Public Thoroughfare' charge that was the basis for initially detaining me was dismissed. Officer Ferrin's continual attempts to justify his actions reflect his fundamental misunderstanding of my Constitutional Rights, as do those who continue to assert that I had some requirement to provide a drivers license as a pedestrian without having violated the law.
"On May 20, 2014 Officer Ferrin unjustifiably detained me, falsely accused me of violating the law, and was angered when his efforts to enforce that fiction weren't recognized by a woman who knows the difference between a man with a badge and an officer of the law."
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