Supporters and students of Arizona State University assistant professor Ersula Ore packed a courtroom this morning for a hearing on the viral-video star's criminal charges.
The hearing was a procedural step on the way toward a possible trial on four charges stemming from Ore's now-famous May 20 arrest by ASU police. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is prosecuting her for felony aggravated assault on a police officer, obstructing a road, failing to give her name to a police officer and resisting arrest.
Since an ASU police dash-cam video of a portion of her encounter with officers was released, Ore's treatment at the hands of rookie police officer Stewart Ferrin has become a much bigger issue than her alleged crimes.
As can be seen in the video, Ferrin, after threatening to slam her on a car, slams her onto the ground. However, it also shows Ore resisting Ferrin's efforts at handcuffing her, then lashing at him with a kick.
Alane Roby, Ore's Phoenix lawyer, says Ore "has become the subject of threats" since being thrust into the national spotlight.
Fox 10 News (KSAZ-TV) reported Roby as saying in court, "This isn't about Professor Ore wanting any type of deferential treatment.. about her demanding anything other than respect adherent to her Constitutional right."
Indeed, in the video, Ore can be heard shouting, "This entire thing is about your lack of respect for me. For me! I'm a citizen. I'm a professor of the university."
Ferrin tells Ore repeatedly to put her hand behind her back during the confrontation on College Avenue near Fifth Street, but she won't do it. Instead, she tells me, "Get off me!"
After being thrown to the ground by Ferrin and assisted by another officer, Ore, who teaches rhetoric and English, informs the cop, "I'm gonna sue the shit out of all of you, I swear to fucking god!" (At least, we're pretty sure that's what she says -- the Channel 3 News video we saw bleeped out the cussing.)
One of the officer then tells Ore her "skirt is up."
"Pull it down! Pull it down!" she yells at him.
"I'm not gonna touch your skirt," Ferrin says. But when Ore stands up, he reaches out to grab the skirt. That's when Ore kicks him.
The whole thing allegedly began when Ferrin tried to enforce a jaywalking law, singling out Ore for some reason. The video doesn't include the beginning of the confrontation.
A continuance was granted in the proceedings, giving more time for Ore to prepare her defense.
Meanwhile, Ferrin's been put on leave -- but only once the video went viral.
See the video below:
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