Arizona campus police who scuffled with professor resigns

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 17, 2015 2:40 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona State University police officer who faced termination proceedings after scuffling with a professor he had stopped for jaywalking last year has resigned, citing the impact of the saga on his family, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Stewart Ferrin had been on administrative leave since July following the May 20 struggle with ASU assistant English professor Ersula Ore, which was captured by a dashboard camera in Ferrin's car. He was told last month that the school intended to fire him over that and other incidents.

But Ferrin resigned effective on Monday, said attorney Mel McDonald.

Blurry video from the night of the incident showed Ferrin stopping Ore, who is African-American, and ordering her to show her identification before a struggle ensues as he tries to handcuff her. The two are seen wrestling to the ground, and at one point, the recording appears to show Ore kicking Ferrin.

"The lack of support, cooperation, and downright bias, coupled with an agenda to ruin my career, has become unbearable and I will not subject my family to this any longer," Ferrin told police chief Mike Thompson in his resignation letter.

“I do this in an effort to continue with my life, to give my family better opportunities, and move past this horrible experience."

Ore has claimed self-defense and says the officer, who is white, used excessive force and violated her civil rights. A preliminary probe by university police found claims by Ore and civil rights activists of excessive force or racial profiling as unfounded and asked the FBI to determine whether any civil rights were violated.

An FBI review of the incident was turned over to federal prosecutors who declined to file charges, an FBI spokesman has said.

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A university spokesman confirmed the resignation and said in a statement that Ferrin had failed to “act in accordance with the standards of professionalism expected at ASU.”

The university said that determination was made following an investigation into the officer’s conduct stemming from the Ore incident and another that occurred within a week, and his performance during four years on the job.

Ore was sentenced to nine months' probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. She has since filed a $2 million claim against the university. Neither Ore nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)