black women

Did police use excessive force with this professor? The video is disturbing

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ersula

Arizona State University English Professor Dr. Ersula Ore is now facing multiple charges including resisting arrest and a felony assault charge stemming from an encounter with police over a jaywalking incident.  A newly released video provides previously unreleased details about Ore’s mistreatment and the disrespect she was subjected to by the officers involved.

The incident occurred on May 20th when Ore was stopped by ASU police officers while walking in the middle of College Avenue near Fifth Street in Tempe, Arizona.  Ore says she had been walking in the street to avoid nearby construction.  Upon being stopped by Officer Stewart Ferrin, Ferrin demanded to see Ore’s ID.  The following conversation took place:

Officer Ferrin: “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID.”

Ore: “Are you serious?”

Officer Ferrin: “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 Ferrin: “Are you aware this is a street?”

Ore: “Let me finish.”

Officer Ferrin: “OK, put your hands behind your back.”

Ore: “Don’t touch me, get your hands off me…”

Officer Ferrin: “…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 Ferrin: “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.”

What follows is a scuffle between Ore and the Officer in which Ferrin slams Ore to the ground, causing her dress to hike up and exposing her body.  Ore is handcuffed with the assistance of another officer, and although officers allege that Ore kicked one of them on the shin, Ore is claiming self defense.  Ore’s attorney Alane Roby states, “She was exposed, told officer she was exposed.  Her dress was up; the officer was reaching toward her anatomy.  She felt uncomfortable with hands going there.”

Despite the fact that ASU officials have released a statement saying that there is “no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved,” this is not the first time ASU police officers have been involved in an incident that can be perceived as being racially motivated.  In 2003, a man filed a lawsuit against ASUPD for being harassed after he refused to show ID while occupying an ASU library, which was a public space.  The lawsuit accused officers of violating the man’s Fifth Amendment rights.

ASU’s official statement regarding the jaywalking incident is as follows: “ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved.  Should such evidence be discovered, an additional, thorough inquiry will be conducted and appropriate actions taken…Because the underlying criminal charges are pending, there is not much more we can say at this time.  The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has reviewed all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements, and audio and video recordings of the incident, and decided to press criminal charges of 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.”

Ore’s experience is not an isolated incident of black academics being subjected to harsh treatment by police.  In fact, a 2003 study published in the Justice Policy Journal states that, “racially discriminatory policing is a white versus people of color problem, specifically interpersonal conflict between white police officers and people of color.”  The study goes on to state that cases recently before the Supreme Court have empowered, “racist police officer(s) 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.”

Ore’s case is a perfect example of how an officer can decide to enforce a minor law, such as jaywalking, and have it escalate into a racial confrontation where a minority then faces multiple charges simply for standing up for themselves and requesting to be treated with dignity and respect.  As a professor whose research interests include cultural studies, Ore does not lack understanding of how race can play into confrontations with law enforcement authorities and lead to blatant disrespect and rights violations.

Dr. Chenelle Jone, a criminologist at Ohio Dominican University, says that black women are “double marginalized” by police, since they have both race and gender working against them.  She also says that, “Regardless of the credentials, the officer handled that situation wrong.”

Dr. Jones also adds balance by stating that “Dr. Ore could have also done some things to make the situation less confrontational with police.”  Jones provides 10 tips for interacting with police that may help others avoid similarly problematic confrontations.

Dr Boyce Watkins, an advocate against the mass incarceration crisis, says that incidents like this are reminders of why the prisons are full of African Americans.

“There are a couple of things to consider here,” says Dr. Watkins. “First, you have to wonder why she was the one person they decided to stop for jay walking, when others had been doing the same thing.  Secondly, if she were not a professor, the media would not be talking about this.  This happens to people every day and is large part of the reason that prisons are filled with black people.”

Watkins also says that incidents like this should be points of reflection for everyone.

“Ask yourself. If this woman is sent to prison for allegedly assaulting a police officer, is society better off when we spend taxpayer money putting scholars and other productive citizens in the penitentiary? This woman should have at least been given basic respect and been able to maintain her dignity.  Just give her a ticket for jaywalking and leave her alone.”

Please give us your thoughts.

 You can watch the video here. 

42 Comments

  1. Keith

    June 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    This officer was on one and very unapologetic. There was a targeted response to justify the charges levied against the professor.

    People Jaywalk everyday, but those who know better, know that this isn’t about jaywalking.

    Just note, not everyone in law enforcement isn’t like this.

    • naimaa

      June 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Note: Though only one spoke, Prof. Ore was attacked by two officers.

    • Regina

      July 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Did you read about the construction blocking the sidewalk? This pig was wrong if whites were/are doing the same thing that Professor Ore was doing, but singled her out.

      A GOOD COP IS A DEAD ONE.

  2. Charles

    June 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    The tipical ploy by white police officers is to treat and disrespect Black people.

    I am hoping that in this particular case that the entire matter will result to bring the Nations Black and Civil Rights Community will organize Nationally to support this Black female professor ! Students, faculty,administrators as well others,she deserves our support….

  3. Darwin Sherod

    June 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    It is obvious this office is had nothing else to do, but to physically and racially I’ll talk to the professor(of course where and when there were NO WITNESSES…..D.SHEROD

  4. Toni

    June 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I did not see anything wrong wit what the Professor did. I see jay walking quite a bit but, it was something about her that this over zealous officer wanted to show that he had power.

    Now that he had placed her in the judicial system, a law abiding Professor of a University. This is in a way similar to the incident that happened some years ago when the Professor in VA was arrested for going into his own home back I believe in “2008”.

    I am exhausted out of all the racism that occurs in this world today. The unfair treatment of human beings no matter what race. These officers do not have enough training and there should be some accountability for their actions.

  5. Pwhit99

    June 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    This is unbelievable! The Toni is correct he wanted to show her he had power over her! This is what happens in domestic violence – the man wants power and control! He seems threatened by her position at the school, so therefore he wants to bring her down a notch!! I sincerely hope that she can come out on the top of this.

  6. Mike Franks

    June 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Yes, the police officer exceeded his authority. Police officers are doing whatever they can to turn the United States of America into a police state.

  7. Bette Vargas

    June 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    ASU refused to present President Obama with an honorary degree claiming his lack of experience. The Governor of the state shook her finger in President Obama’s face in front of national media, so I doubt very seriously if there will be repercussions for this police assault as shameful as it is.

  8. Michael

    June 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    My question is why tolerate or live in this type of environment?

    In this day and age you have choices, obviously she is qualified to teach wherever she wants too, so don’t put up with it.

    If they want a Lilly white campus, let them have it, and when students and student athletic stop coming, then we’ll see just how they survive being an isolated from the rest of the world.

    Our ancestor endured far more than they needed to, so we would have to tolerate this kind of behavior, and we continue to fight to fit in where we aren’t wanted.

    There are far too many choices for us, and far too many actual humans that we can associate ourselves with, that we shouldn’t feel we have to put up with this.

    Take your power back and stand up for yourself, than firm an alliance between faculty and student and do a huge exodus.

    Until you’re willing to make some sacrifices, they will continue to treat you less than human.

  9. butch

    June 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I agree with James, the officer took advantage of his authority to assert his authority. The professor should have complied, u have to comply.

  10. Barbara

    June 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    The comment above by Pamela Harris is right on point.

    I see no reason why this “smart” professor did not comply and show her ID. She could later use the Courts to complain about the officer.

    I was stopped twice for traffic violations: speeding and running a ‘yellow’ light. When asked for my registration, I showed it without hesitation. I then questioned the officers, politely, as to what had I done wrong. They explained my violation; then they let me go with a warning. I was able to explain to them what “I” thought of the situation, and they listened.

    Don’t fight with the Cops. You may end up in jail, or worse–dead.

    • Regina

      July 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Better dead than a crumb begging slave.

  11. Roy Jones

    June 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I am a white man 77 years young. I was taught to respect ladies. If I was selected to by on a jury concerning this lady I would vote to release her from the stupid actions of a police department gone mad.
    The policeman should have to attend teaching him how to handle a case like this. And not the way he handled her case.
    I can’t help the way he acted, but I can say to the lady. I bless you with God’s best and highest good and I ask God to grant her His best and hight good.

  12. Seemespeak

    June 28, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Fuck the pigs.

  13. Meghann

    June 28, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Any excuse to degrade and jail a person of color. Why don’t the police catch real criminals?

    • kathrobin

      June 30, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      That would require intellegence

  14. Sarah

    June 28, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    The question is: Did the police use excessive force towards the Professor? The answer is: Hell yes. What happen to a citation? Did anyone teach him how to write one? He just wanted to flex his muscle. That’ s no way to treat a lady or as a matter of fact, anyone. Shame on you. The charges will be dropped. Keep the faith.

  15. Danita Ford

    June 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    called the NAACP AND HAVE THIS INVESTIGATED THIS MAKES VERY UPSET TO SEE THIS HAPPEN .AZ is can show that they have a race problem here look at there sheriff he has a issue with minority and it sadden me to think that people of color still have to fight and be treated in this manner .I thought that when a woman is being arrested for any thing a woman officer was suppose to be called and this did not happen and he knew she had a dress on but he did not care and this need to be taken up with the naacp they need to be brought in on this because i see hate here and his power to hurt this woman.Any one that is having a problem like this can become a member for 30.00 dollars and they also have it for youths as well .I am member and i just wrote them about this right now so they will probably be getting a call real soon our showing up here in arizona to get this worked out .Because this need “s to stop before some one gets killed or hurt and riots break out.

  16. Louise Johnson

    June 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I was subjected to excessive force by the Norfolk, Virginia Police in March of 2013. The S.W.A.T team destroyed my entrance door. I was taking a nap, with only a tee shirt and panties. When I heard the noise of the door being broken, I went into my hall way: there were two officers in riot gear and assault rifles aimed at me.

    I was handcuffed and made to stand in my living room semi nude because I kept asking who or what they were looking for.

    the only explanation I received was someone and reported a shooting in my apartment three days prior. There was a warrant with my address and apartment number, they were looking for a semi automatic hand gun.

    Please note I do not own a gun, however I have a valid conceal to carry permit, from the state of Virginia. (Please note: you do not need a permit to to have a gun in your home.)(2nd & 4th Amendments)

    I have no criminal background also I am a 70 year old black female.

  17. Wil May

    June 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Its a known fact that approximately 10 to 15 percent of police officers have deviant behavior and strive to be highly authoritative, especially when dealing with minorities and in particular African Americans. Their over zealous action bring out their racism. When confronted by police officers, use good judgment so you don’t play into their deviant ways. They love to be authoritative.

  18. Satchel

    June 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Louise Johnson, You should have treated this,just as you would any armed home invasion, which it was. With your life being in jeopardy, being down to your underwear should be the least of your concern. I’m happy you were not physically harmed, so you can call the NAACP, ACLU, SPLC or Lawyer if you can afford one.

    • Louise Johnson

      June 29, 2014 at 4:13 am

      Satchel:

      I called the ACLU (Richmond, VA) you should see the email I got from them. I called NAN Al Sharpton’s organization three (3) time they did not bother to respond.

      The only Lawyer who seem to understand the problem is in Maryland.

      I emailed the only black member of the city counsel, he never answered back. I sure there is a high level of the good old boy and house n—–,s about.

      • Regina

        July 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        NAACP ain’t SCHYTT. AL ain’t better either. The only time you will hear from the above pieces of pond scum and your city councilman is when they need $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

        I suggest that your fingers do the walking through the yellow pages. File a complaint with the attorney general’s office, district attorney, internal affairs and Eric Holder.

        Contact the news media. Sad to say there’s no such thing as right and wrong and hope in AMERIKKKA.

        Good luck

  19. Katt Williams

    June 28, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I live in Arizona and the legal system here is a joke! I have been on ASU campus in Tempe plenty of times and know that it’s Jay walking all day and night. Should the Professor showed her i.d., I wouldn’t have either. I would have asked for a Sergeant said “I do not understand why I am being stopped and I am afraid because of incidents I have seen before.” I would have waited for the Sergeant and explained to him my concerns about me being stopped. From the President down to the Mexican Americans have been disrespected by the Governor (dumbass) of Arizona. I myself have been assaulted by the police and took it to trial and the officer was so inconsistent with his statements and they had a tape of the incident which you can tell was edited and they did not call his integrity in to question. I called the NAACP and they asked me for a donation and no help at all. So, if you have no money or your have no standing in the community the “Black” leaders in the U.S. will not do anything unless they can benefit from it. The police was doing to much and could have just gave her a citation and went on about his business. He used his authority to demean her and they did nothing about it add usual. Oh and to add, the police are full of it because my daughter who just got an i.d. at the age of 17 (in Arizona) has a ticket for under aged drinking and curfew violation. Here’s the catch, my daughter was at home in bed, at school the next day and the description doesn’t match my daughter but light skin African American. They are supposed to see your i.d. but apparently they went off who ever used her name and now I’m fighting tickets for her in a city a hour away from us. This is sad, they will take a name as long as your nice. They didn’t even take a picture, have our correct address, finger prints or an i.d. as this officer claims your supposed to have. Hogwash!

  20. Hakeem Muhammad

    June 29, 2014 at 6:15 am

    I am just tired of the injustice that comes toward our people, Born in America don’t feel American. Happy Fourth Of YOU LIE…….Peace

  21. Semelo Shamari Shombay

    June 29, 2014 at 6:27 am

    We always allow the position to take over as the representation of the individual thats committing the act and He or She can easily be excused
    or made a non participant in a act they solely are responsible for. This man was not protecting Her He abused his authority behind a minor incident that should have leveled a warning, She had put Her self in a dangerous position by walking in the street. But in an instant She became a target (BLACK WHILE WALKING)by this Man in a uniform that He wears as a protector of not an abuser of and Her rights as a natural being free to move about was ignored and afterwards made him a hero in the eyes of His bosses with probably a pat on back as a job well done and a green light to do it again and I personally feel, the next time someone will die and for what jaywalking?

  22. Rima

    June 29, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Yes she could have just shown her ID but if she wanted to question the basis for the request, she was well within her rights to do so without being assaulted. Intelligent people who know their rights will question and challenge situations they know are wrong. Those in positions of authority feel threatened when challenged and don’t know how to defend their actions using intellect and words so they resort to violence.

  23. mmdccbslm

    June 29, 2014 at 9:46 am

    this is racism. stop mincing words. in Az, the racism is public and enforced with law.

  24. Kiesha makins

    June 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

    This ish pisses me Off

  25. Ann G.

    June 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Arizona is loaded with Tea Party Klansmen, including that horrible ugly woman they call a governor! This trash calling himself a policeman thought this was the perfect time to show his White ass and play superior over an intelligent Black woman! Had she had on heels, she should have given him a swift kick in the balls while he had her on the ground! Then he would have something to take her to jail for!

  26. SweetTweet

    June 29, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Say it again Roy Jones!

  27. berdell

    June 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    This is more the norm then not unfortuantley in the present climate !1
    I hope she fights it and wins .

  28. Stokly

    June 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Yes, we should standup against the “lack of Justice” directed at Black Americans every day. We as black people must seek justice for arbitrary and capricious abuse of authority by a public servant. We know “Freedom is not Free” wake-up everybody “Justice in America” cost much, much, more freedom. Our Problem: State sponsored Tugs “Police” are protected by the entire American System of Justice. The State by protecting Police is merely upholding the first law of nature “self-preservation”.

    We must develop Grass root funding for a “legal rights” networks in all 50 states, have a zero tolerance for any person charged with “resisting arrest” without an arrest-able offense or a minor offense like jaywalking (prima facie injustice). We can no longer rely on the justice system to protect our inalienable rights as citizen. We must “Prove Up” and “Pay Up”

    I am certain the vast majority of Black Citizen know someone who has experience this type of Injustice. Like in Montgomery over 50 years ago, seemingly small injustices have a profound impact on individual and community self-esteem (both the First Lady, Mrs Obama and former Secretary of State, Ms Rice have Alabama roots) working together we can seek “Justice for All”. We have a duty to “pay forward” for the benefit of our children.

  29. Alfred duckett

    June 29, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    The fact is this is the same institution whoose current president, Michael Crowe, fired Theresa Cameron,an African American tenured professor for plagiarizing a syllabus. Who in his right mind has ever heard of something so outrageous.

    I am outraged by the treatment that Professor Ore received from these barbaric 2 bit ignorant University police officers. it sounds as though the university and the local judicial system has already decided to charge, try, and prosecute the good professor already. May God save their souls.

    • Regina

      July 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Plagiarizing a syllabus? I know of Professors that plagiarize course materials every day.

      SMDH

  30. Mary S. Northington

    June 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    It is high time that all persons who collectively are identified as black in this country (those trying to stay alive, those trying to survive, those struggling to thrive, and those living under the illusion that they have arrived) come to the realization that from the time blacks were brought to this hemisphere, bigoted white people have strategically sought to keep them subjugated and oppressed. Largely they have succeeded for no matter what means have been employed to overcome the ravages of bigotry, the bigots have found a way around them. Laws have been enacted. People who have struggled for freedom have been terrorized and killed. Yet, in spite of a numerical minority status, 13% 0f a total population approaching 313 million, blacks have made unprecedented progress even with the heel of repeated injustice on their necks and backs.

    Perhaps among the more invisibly oppressed are those like the black female professor at Arizona State University. She had the nerve to be a respected academician, too much for the white man who historically has used his power over the black female, but now must do his dirt under the guise of law enforcement. His uniform and official title, conveniently give him the right to abuse while hidden behind the endowment of power which no one is supposed to question. He can go unimpeded without censure where no other citizen is permitted.

    College professors are special targets. The white “law enforcement officer”, low on the status totem pole must show the “uppity black professors that he is superior in power to them. This has been demonstrated from the distinguished Professor Henry Louis Gates down to the most recently appointed adjunct. Unfortunately there are a few like Ben Carson who are trying to save their personal skin by joining the enemy. If one of us is abused, we all are abused, including the Ben Carsons. And don’t let such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, who talk about tolerance, fool you. Who wants to be tolerated? We want to be respected. And, it won’t happen until all blacks, not including those hopelessly bought, come together and demand respect. If nothing else, write the abused professor at ASU and let her know you are fighting (if you are). My motto and action is “Fighting Against Racism Everywhere. FARE” Join me. Comments are worthless. It is time for blacks to come together. As one author puts it, “learn, educate, and then ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! within the community, from community to community, and throughout the nation.

  31. Joseph L. Bass, EdD

    June 30, 2014 at 7:46 am

    People that read this website should study up on our system of laws and the relationship between citizens and the police. I’m not a police officer and, having lived in South Central Los Angeles for five years, I know from first-hand experience some officers are not to be trusted. For these officers and their illegal actions citizens should protest and take constructive actions to keep police within the bounds of the law.

    But to do this, citizens must educate themselves and know what is legal and what is not. And that is the problem with most comments posted about this issue.

    It is legal order for a police officer to tell you that he or she is going to place handcuffs on you and tells you to turn around and put your hands behind your back a legal order. To not do so is a crime punishable as resisting arrest. To attempt to physically attempt to keep the officer from putting the handcuffs on is a crime punishable as resisting arrest. A police officer can legally us enough force that is reasonably necessary to put the handcuffs on a person resisting.

    That is what you see in the video that so many people are upset about. Whether or not the officer is right in putting the handcuffs on a person is an issue to be decided after-the-fact in court. Whether or not the officer is right in putting the handcuffs on a person is not an issue to be decided by the person physically resisting.

    By calling “wolf” about a reasonable arrest reduces the effectiveness of people for calling “wolf” when a police action is illegal. It is important for citizens to not weaken their power to correct police officers’ wrongful action by calling “wolf” over and over at the wrong times. Joseph L. Bass, EdD.

  32. william ian coffey

    July 1, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I think that cop and others like him should be harassed and slammed face down with a boot on his neck…….I hate chicken s… cops like him….pick on someone your own size off duty and see where you wind up punk!!!!

  33. M. Alan

    July 2, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Should she have obeyed the officers command for ID ? Yes

    Should the officers have used force ?
    No

    I feel both parties were at fault.

    Do I think this was racism? No
    Regardless of public opinion, why provoke the officer to take it to the next level. Remember he had the legal right to stop her. In a court of law it’s not about what you think but what can be proven with fact.

  34. ABANE

    July 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    THESE THINGS ONLY HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES OF BABYLOON. LEAVING IN FEAR IS NO LIFE.JUST EVERY DAY THE SAME STORY.ONLY WITH BLACKS.SAD, BUT THE BLACK REVOLUTION IS ON THE MOVE AND WILL NOT BE TELEVISED.THE WHITE SUPREMACIST ARE FIGHTING VERY HAD 24 HOURS A DAY TO SHOW HOW POWERFUL THEY ARE.THEY WILL CRUMBLE ON THIER OWN.THE SO CALLED WESTERN CIVILIZATION HAS CAME TO AN END, AND THEY HAVE ENTERED A PROCESS OF SELF DISTRUCTION. AFRICANS ARE NOT GOING TO BE PART OF THE PROCCESS. BECAUSE OUR CULTURE TAKES US OUT. AND THATS WERE WE STAND. THE BLACK RACE WILL RISE AGAIN.

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