ASU Officer Stewart Ferrin Still on Leave, Under Investigation, After Ersula Ore's Guilty Plea

Arizona State University police confirmed this afternoon that Officer Stewart Ferrin is still on leave and under investigation despite Ersula Ore's guilty plea this morning.

ASU media-relations director Sharon Keeler still hasn't returned our morning message, but we just checked with ASU Police Chief John Pickens' office, and his assistant had some news about Ferrin.

See also: -Ersula Ore, ASU Professor, Pleads Guilty; ASU Won't Say if Cop's Back on Duty Before we called Pickens' office just now, we called ASU police and asked if Ferrin was working today. The dispatcher said Ferrin was not at work. So we tried Pickens again.

Pickens' assistant tells us that Ferrin is still under investigation and on leave.

Ferrin's actions in the May 20 arrest of Ore drew criticism from many after video recorded by his patrol car's dash-cam hit the Internet. Other viewers of the video, however, backed his handling of the situation, which allegedly began when Ferrin attempted to enforce a jaywalking law.

Supporters of Ferrin initially included his employer, ASU. But that changed when pressure mounted due to the viral video. Last Wednesday, ASU issued a news release stating that Ferrin had been put on leave and that the university had asked the FBI to review the case for any potential civil-rights allegations.

But now that Ore's signed a plea deal in which she admits to misdemeanor resisting arrest, while escaping a felony aggravated assault charge, it would seem that Ferrin has been vindicated.

The court of public opinion hasn't cleared him, though -- and ASU's very sensitive to the pubic perception, especially given President Michael Crow's goal to attract 100,000 students to lucrative online-degree programs.

At the least, ASU owes the public, not to mention its small campus police force, an explanation for why Ferrin is on leave, in light of Ore's decision to admit that she was resisting Ferrin's attempts to arrest her.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.