ASU professor takes plea deal

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by Amanda Goodman

azfamily.com

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 6:43 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Dr. Ersula Ore has pleaded guilty to resisting an arrest as part of a plea agreement worked out with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

The Arizona State University professor was originally facing four separate charges after an exchange with ASU Police Officer Stewart Ferrin back in May. Those charges included aggravated assault on a police officer, obstruction of a public thoroughfare, failure to show identification, and resisting an arrest.

"She takes responsibility today for passively resisting an unlawful arrest. We will always maintain it was an unlawful arrest with excessive force," said Ore's attorney, Alane Roby.

Ore was stopped by Ferrin for jaywalking across a street near campus that was closed.

The incident, which was captured on the officer's dash-cam, escalated quickly and turned physical, with the officer taking Ore to the ground and Ore kicking at the officer at one point.

"The aggravated assault on a police officer charge was also dismissed by the county. Ms. Ore had a self-defense claim. The officer was reaching toward her bare butt," Roby said.

The spokesman for the county attorney's office, Jerry Cobb, sent 3TV this response when our reporter asked if they could expand on the plea deal.

"As with any plea agreement, the state agreed to dismiss some of the charges in exchange for the certainty of holding the defendant accountable for her actions while the defendant agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges in exchange for avoiding the risk of losing at trial and facing a harsher penalty."

Ore maintains she should have never been arrested to begin with.

As part of the deal, the county attorney's office dismissed all but the resisting an arrest charge.

"Whether or not she believes the arrest was valid or not, she was not able to resist," Deputy County Attorney Kelly Neil said during the hearing.

After the hearing, Ore had a hard time putting her feelings into words.

"I don't have language to articulate that right now," she said.

Her attorney told reporters the guilty plea was about her client taking responsibility, but that they maintain this was an unlawful arrest with excessive force.

"She has taken responsibility for her actions, and now we're asking that Officer Ferrin do the same," she said.

ASU placed Ferrin on leave while they pursue an independent investigation by the FBI into claims of excessive force.

A university spokesperson told 3TV that investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Ore is looking at her options for pursuing constitutional claims relating to her arrest.

As part of the deal, Ore has agreed to supervised probation and to pay restitution, but it will be up to Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Julie Ann Mata to accept, reject or change that.

Her sentencing is set for Aug. 1.

Raw video: ASU professor pleads guilty to resisting arrest

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