ASU Professor Charged After She Refused To Give Identification And Was Thrown To The Ground By Arresting Officer

ersula-oreThere is a growing controversy in Arizona over the arrest of Arizona State University Professor Ersula Ore who refused to show her identification to a police officer and ended up being thrown to the ground and arrested — a scene captured on the videotape below.

It remains unclear why the ASU police officer demands to see the identification of Ore. Libertarians have long opposed these laws required citizens to show their identification to police without any reasonable suspicion of a crime. In this case, Ore had allegedly jaywalked to avoid construction and then objected to what she considered a disrespectful tone of the officer. The officer, identified as Steward Ferrin, says “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID.” After he states that he has legal authority for the demand, Ore says that she has “no problem abiding by the law . . . But all I’m asking, do you have to speak to me in such a disrespectful manner?” Ore then resists efforts to handcuff her and eventually hits an officer in the leg.

asu30n-4-webAs we have seen in other controversial arrests, the prosecutors and police piled on charges. She has been charged with 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. The kick was so slight, it is hard to see the purpose of the assault charge beyond the desire to increase the possible sentence and force a plea. Likewise, obstructing a highway seems a bit over the top. It is the second charge is easy to establish, albeit controversial with many libertarians. There is no question that she was resisting the officer who did try to get her to yield with verbal commands. However, the proliferation of charges continue to concern many of us in these cases as a way of forcing citizens to enter pleas even when they would prefer to contest the original charge.

Ore is claiming self-defense and says that the officer was reaching toward her anatomy when she kicked him.

Ore is a professor of cultural studies in the English department and lists her interests as “Contemproary Rhetorical Theory, Race Critical Theory, Rhetorics of Race & Culture, Composition, Visual and Material Culture Studies.”

The university issued the following statement.

Arizona State University authorities have reviewed the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the arrest of assistant professor Ersula Ore and have found that the officer involved did not violate protocol and no evidence was found of racial motivation by the ASU Police Department officers involved.

However, 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 police 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 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 Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has independently 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. The charge of assaulting an officer is based on the fact that Ore kicked the officer as is shown on the video and as she admitted in her recorded statements to the police.

Sharon Keeler,
(480) 965-4012
Media Relations

The academic status of Professor Ore could be raised if she is convicted or pleads guilty to some of these charges, particularly given the involvement of ASU police. Not only are criminal convictions generally grounds for such review but a crime technically against or involving the university can present a very serious issue for removal.

89 thoughts on “ASU Professor Charged After She Refused To Give Identification And Was Thrown To The Ground By Arresting Officer”

  1. Per Arizona law, one is not required to show law enforcement one’s identification, only to identify oneself, and that is upon being suspected of misbehavior.

  2. what a dumb ass. He asked for her ID… this could have all been avoided if she’d simply showed him what he asked for. She got what she deserved. Can’t fix stupid, man.

  3. Paul, Thanks for the update. I know a lot of FBI agents. I can tell you EXACTLY what FBI agents think about this assignment.

  4. These ID laws are a farce. There is no legitimate gov’t interest. It’s quite logical. The State does need a name to prosecute a crime. Joe Doe will suffice or Six Unknown Agents. Ultimately in court, an animated corpus is what is identified not a name tag.

    This is about power , control , and frankly tyranny.

    Even Hiibel v Nevada is not an affirmation of ID laws. The holding said “None of your business” is not a legitimate (based on reasonable belief) 5th amendment claim.
    Hiibel v Nevada
    “In this case petitioner’s refusal to disclose his name was not based on any articulated real and appreciable fear that his name would be used to incriminate him, or that it “would furnish a link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute” him. Hoffman v. United States, 341 U. S. 479, 486 (1951). As best we can tell, petitioner refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer’s business. Even today, petitioner does not explain how the disclosure of his name could have been used against him in a criminal case. While we recognize petitioner’s strong belief that he should not have to disclose his identity, the Fifth 191*191 Amendment does not override the Nevada Legislature’s judgment to the contrary absent a reasonable belief that the disclosure would tend to incriminate him.”

    There are 2 more reasons ID laws are BS.
    1. No remedy for mis-identification
    Man jailed based on mistaken identity can’t sue, court rules
    March 12, 2014
    LA Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — A man jailed in Los Angeles County for a month because he was mistaken for someone with the same name and birth date lost a legal effort Wednesday to hold law enforcement agencies responsible for the mix-up.

    2. A name can be used against you

    ID errors put hundreds in County Jail
    Wrongful incarcerations totaled 1,480 in the last five years, a Times inquiry finds.

    December 25, 2011|Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard

    Hundreds of people have been wrongly imprisoned inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department jails in recent years, with some spending weeks behind bars before authorities realized those arrested were mistaken for wanted criminals, a Times investigation has found.

    The wrongful incarcerations occurred more than 1,480 times in the last five years. They were the result of a variety of factors, including officials’ overlooking fingerprint evidence and working off incomplete records.

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