ASU police officer on paid leave after arrest of professor

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Tanya Mendis

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 7 at 2:10 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University announced Wednesday that a campus police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave following the arrest of a professor.

The university has reportedly asked the FBI to determine whether Officer Stewart Ferrin violated the civil rights of Ersula Ore when he arrested her in May.

A preliminary review by the ASU Police Department found that Ferrin did not engage in racial profiling or use excessive force.

Police say Ore was walking in the middle of College Avenue just south of Fifth Street on May 20.

In a dashboard camera recording released last week, Ferrin asks to see Ore's ID and explains that she is obstructing the roadway.

Ore asks Ferrin to treat her with more respect and explains that many people have been walking on the street to avoid construction in the area.

The officer tries to handcuff Ore and warns that if she does not put her hands behind her back, he is going to "slam" her on the police car.

A struggle ensues, and Ore ends up on the ground with her dress hiked up. Police allege that Ore kicked Ferrin during the struggle, but Ore's attorney says any actions were in self-defense.

Ore is being charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, failing to provide ID and obstructing a public thoroughfare.

Civil rights activists are calling for action against Ferrin.

Bishop Dr. Jeff Metcalff, president of the Arizona chapter of the National Action Network, called the professor's arrest "a national story of disgrace on our state."

"We have contacted the FBI and asked them to conduct a special investigation about the policies and procedures of ASU and their police department," he said. "When you get the bad apples, you need to get rid of those bad apples."

Recent ASU graduate Jason Heckendorn says he was also treated unfairly by Ferrin while trying to help a friend in a mob of students rushing to get football tickets.

A police report says Ferrin was pushed twice by Heckendorn while trying to disperse the crowd, but Heckendorn says it was a misunderstanding.

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