Arizona State University Police Officer Stewart Ferrin wasn't fired as expected today, and it sounds like it's possible he may get a reprieve.
Ferrin whose high-profile, video-recorded arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore caused a public-relations nightmare for the university, will be employed for at least a little while longer, his lawyer, former Arizona U.S. Attorney Mel McDonald, tells us tonight.
"He's had his leave extended," McDonald says.
The officer's fate is now in the hands of the new chief of police, McDonald says.
"It's pending administrative decision, but no decision's been made yet," he says.
As McDonald told the news media last week, Ferrin was told by ASU he'd be fired on January 21. He's been on paid leave since Channel 3 News (KTVK-TV) unearthed dash-cam video of the May 20 arrest in downtown Tempe. The reported move to fire Ferrin came after ASU had said previously that Ferrin violated no policies, and after Ore was convicted for misdemeanor resisting arrest following a successful plea bargain.
Ore received nine months' probation. She's suing ASU for $2 million.
A January 19 post on a Facebook page to support Ferrin states the officer "has appealed this wrongful termination from Arizona State University Police Department. Chief Michael Thompson will have the Appeal Hearing report on Tuesday (Jan 20th) and will make his decision."
The reported extension of Ferrin's leave follows Saturday's pro-police rally at Scottsdale police headquarters, where Ferrin made an appearance before cameras before a mostly supporting crowd.
Ferrin also received some favorable press after Saturday's rally.
ASU's chief, Michael Thompson, is a former Mesa cop who's been with ASU police since 2008. He became chief in July after the sudden, early departure of Police Chief John Pickens in the wake of the Ore scandal.
McDonald says that as of Wednesday, he's unable to say how long Ferrin's leave would be extended, or make any other comment.
ASU's media relations department released the following statement after we requested comment: "Under Arizona statute, we are not permitted to release any record which contains any information about the administrative investigation until the investigation and any appeal at the University level are complete. The law enforcement officer, however, who is the subject of the investigation, can choose to enter into an agreement with the employer to make these confidential records publicly available."
(We'd previously asked McDonald to see the records. We still haven't seen them.)
For now -- as far as Ferrin's employment status goes -- no news is good news.
UPDATE: Thursday, 3pm -- ASU releases an additional statement:
"The officer remains on administrative leave as the Chief of the ASU Police Department continues to review the administrative investigation. Under Arizona statute, the university is prohibited from releasing any records relevant to the investigation."
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Meanwhile, McDonald tells us that Ferrin and his wife had their second child this morning.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.