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Police Release Statement About Female Professor Body Slammed By Cop

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Arizona State University English Professor Dr. Ersula Ore is now facing multiple charges including resisting arrest and a felony assault charge.

Professor Dr. Ersula Ore

Reported by April V. Taylor

Multiple news sources are reporting on updates to the story of Arizona State University (ASU) professor Ersula Burns.  A video of police using excessive force and slamming Burns to the ground during a stop regarding jaywalking has gone viral.  Many are objecting to the charges that have since been filed against Burns that include resisting arrest and a felony charge of assault on a police officer.  ASU officials originally released a statement that said that there was “no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved.”  However, the charges against Ore and ASU officials response to the incident have sparked outrage.  Ore’s attorney Alane Roby reports that Ore is claiming self defense.

KTVK is reporting that a tape they obtained reveals that there was at least one person who called 911 to report an officer being “way too aggressive” with Ore.  In addition, The Huffington Post is reporting that The Arizona Ethnic Studies Network has released a statement saying, “In a state and metropolitan region in which racial profiling has been proven to be widespread, the ASU administration’s lack of concern for the well-being of an ASU community member of color is unacceptable.”

A petition has also been started asking for “the Arizona State University Police department to drop all charges and issue an unqualified apology.”  It has received over 9,000 signatures at the time this article was published.  The petition includes the signatures of thousands of college professors and administrators.

Mentors and friends of Ore’s have also set up a defense fund to help shoulder some of the legal costs she is incurring in fighting the charges.  The group released a statement saying, “As Friends & Supporters of Dr. Ersula Ore we are concerned.  The timing of this incident was unfortunate.  But, despite her busy academic schedule, Ersula has committed herself, with the support of family, colleagues, community leaders and a robust network of friends, to fighting these charges.  As Ersula is still at the early stages of her career and in academe, her financial resources are limited.  To ensure that Ersula’s name is cleared and the charges are dismissed, she intends to mount an aggressive, yet appropriate legal defense.  For this reason, we are asking each of you, as a network of individuals who have supported Ersula at various stages of her life and professional career, to provide whatever monetary support you can.  Any amount will help.”

In response to the outpouring of support on Burns’ behalf as well as the outrage about ASU’s handling of the incident, ASUPD has released a new statement to the Huffington Post:

“The ASU Police Department is enlisting an outside law-enforcement agency to conduct an independent review on whether excessive force was used and if there was any racial motivation by the officers involved.

In addition, although no university protocols were violated, university police are conducting a review of whether the officer involved could have avoided the confrontation that ensued.

According to the police report, ASU Police initially spoke to Assistant Professor Ore because officers patrolling the area nearly hit her with their police vehicle as they turned the vehicle onto College Avenue to investigate a disabled vehicle.  Officer Stewart Ferrin had no intention of citing or arresting Ore, but for her safety, told her to walk on the sidewalk.  When Ore refused to comply and refused to provide identification after she was asked for it multiple times, she was subsequently arrested.”

The department’s statement goes on to reinforce the fact that the criminal charges faced by Ore are the result of an independent review of available information by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The revelation that Ore was nearly hit by a police vehicle is newly released information and appears to be in response to controversy surrounding why Ore was singled out to be stopped when there are reports that multiple other pedestrians were crossing the street in an attempt to avoid construction in the area.  The Huffington Post reports that Ore has not responded to a request for comment regarding the statements from ASU authorities.

Below: Dr. Boyce Watkins and criminologist Dr. Chenelle Jones discuss the case of Dr. Ersula Ore –