Report on ASU officer reveals pattern of discipline and internal investigations

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

TEMPE, Ariz. --- The Arizona State University police officer forced to resign over a controversial arrest had a history of internal investigations and behavior his fellow officers were concerned with.

Stewart Ferrin was forced to resign from his position, roughly nine months after a patrol car's dash video of him arresting ASU Professor Ersula Ore went viral.

An independent review commissioned by ASU condemned the arrest for both legal and behavioral reasons.

ASU's initial release of Ferrin's personnel files last summer included just two infractions. In one case, Ferrin backed a car into a pole, while another day he was found dozing off on the job.

The new report, released Tuesday, reveals much more. ASU officials say the newly released information was purposely withheld from the media until the investigation into the Ore incident was complete.

Ferrin was first accused of insubordination as a recruit at the training academy in 2012.   His run-ins with supervisors continued for the next three years.

Formal complaints were filed by citizens and ASU students in October 2013, January 2014, February 2014, and May 2014, all before Ore's incident.

In May, on commencement weekend, Ferrin was accused of improperly detaining a grad student crossing the street in a crosswalk.  

ASU's report found evidence Ferrin "was in violation of various policies....did not exhibit good judgment...and failed to serve the public with courtesy...."

This happened a few weeks before Ferrin arrested Ore.

As an officer, Ferrin was "counseled" or "coached" about his techniques at least ten times.  Supervisors and fellow officers encouraged Ferrin to dial back the number of arrests he was making, and instead to give out more warnings to people involved in minor infractions.

At least one of his fellow officers told Ferrin to his face, that Ferrin's supervisor should, "take away the keys to Ferrin's patrol car."

The 200-page report contains many concerns voiced by other officers, who call Ferrin,"overbearing" and "hyper-aggressive."  

Several said he showed a "lack of maturity."

Ferrin was also disciplined for conducing off-duty traffic stops, which occurred at least twice in 2014.   He was told to stop wearing his uniform on his way to and from work.

Supervisors warned Ferrin that the off-duty enforcement was "dangerous," and "exposed [Ferrin and ASU] to civil liability."

As for Ore's arrest, the independent report found Ferrin misapplied the law, and had no reasonable basis for believing Ore had committed any kind of criminal violation.

Ore's attorney said the report makes clear that her incident was not an isolated one.

"This was a police officer that had a path of conduct that the police department and university should have known was going to lead to what happened to our client," Danny Ortega told 3TV.

"You can try to place all the blame on the officer for the over-reaction and manner in which he treated people. But the university isn't totally absolved here. These are things the university knew about," he said.

University officials declined to answer any questions related to Ferrin's case or the newly released report.

Ore has filed a $2 million claim against the university.