Arizona professor's jaywalking arrest quickly gets out of hand - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Arizona professor's jaywalking arrest quickly gets out of hand


By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux

(CNN) -- A jaywalking rarely makes national news, but the arrest of Arizona professor Ersula Ore has done just that.

What began as a walk home from teaching classes at Arizona State University ended with police charging the professor with assault.

Here's what's not disputed: the English professor was walking in the middle of a Tempe, Arizona, street one evening last month when a police officer stopped her.

What followed was an interaction that was anything but routine.

In a dashboard camera recording released Friday, Ore steadfastly questions the officer and asks him to be respectful.

The two talk over each other as the situation escalates, with Ferrin threatening to arrest Ore unless she produces her ID.

"If you don't understand the law, I'm explaining the law to you," Ferrin says. "The reason I'm talking to you right now is because you are walking in the middle of the street."

Ore explains that she walked in the street to avoid construction.

"I never once saw a single solitary individual get pulled over by a cop for walking across a street on a campus, in a campus location," she says.

The explanation did not satisfy, and Ferrin begins to cuff the professor.

"Don't touch me," Ore says as her voice begins to rise. "Get your hands off me."

The officer warns her to put her hands behind her back or "I'm going to slam you" on the police car.

"You really want to do that?" Ore asks. "Do you see what I'm wearing?"

The officer responds: "I don't care what you're wearing."

Shortly, Ore is on the ground. Her lawyer, Alane M. Roby, says the action caused her dress to ride up, "exposing her anatomy to all onlookers."

Ore faces charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, failing to provide ID and obstructing a public thoroughfare. The university said it found "no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved."

Given the "underlying criminal charges," the university declined to provide any more details.

Roby said they'll fight the charges, and accused the officer of escalating the situation in violation of his training.

"Professor Ore's one crime that evening was to demand respect that she deserves as a productive, educated and tax paying member of society," Roby wrote in a statement to CNN, adding that they maintain any actions Ore took were done in self-defense.

That includes the caught-on-camera kick she delivered to the officer's shin.

"She can clearly be heard on the dash can video instructing the officer not to grab toward her genital area prior to him reaching for her in attempt to pull her skirt down over her exposed private area," Roby wrote.

The incident has drawn headlines from as far away as Iran and England. Closer to home, her department at the university has asked for a thorough investigation, including "an audit on the conduct of its police force vis-à-vis racial profiling."

The university said it has completed one investigation. If evidence of officer wrongdoing surfaces, it said, an additional inquiry will be conducted and appropriate measures taken.

CNN's Mesrop Najarian contributed to this report


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