Many Black people around the country were outraged when they saw video of Arizona State University professor Ersula Ore being tackled to the ground by a campus police officer for walking in the street—but they might be even more incensed to know that the abusive officer was granted a reprieve from being fired by the new campus police chief.
The fate of 25-year-old officer Stewart Ferrin has been somewhat of a rollercoaster since the video surfaced in July showing his treatment of Dr. Ore, 33. Ferrin at first was cleared of wrongdoing by ASU officials, then he was placed on paid leave when the video went viral.
In December, Ferrin was sent a letter from the school informing him that his last date of work was to be January 21. But finally his termination was put on hold, according to his lawyer, Mel McDonald, as the new campus Police Chief Michael Thompson decides Ferrin’s fate.
Ferrin’s lawyer said that he couldn’t say how long Ferrin’s leave would be extended.
“It’s pending administrative decision, but no decision’s been made yet,” said McDonald, a former Arizona U.S. Attorney, according to the Phoenix New Times.
For many observers, Ferrin’s treatment of Ore was yet another example of law enforcement disrespect of African-Americans, no matter their station in life.
In the video, Ferrin is seen repeatedly telling Professor Ore to put her hands behind her back after he stops her for walking in the street, while she angrily refuses. After telling her he would slam her on the car, he roughly tackles her to the ground—and she kicks him in the shin.
Ore was arrested on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, criminal damage, refusal to provide a truthful name and obstructing a public thoroughfare. When she pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, the other charges were dropped. Ore in November filed a claim against ASU seeking $2 million dollars in damages.
Ferrin told News 12 in Arizona that walking in the street was a “criminal act,” and also that he couldn’t tell what race Ore was before arresting her. Ferrin has been trying to prove that he couldn’t be racist because he is familiar with the feeling of being a minority.
“I was an LSD missionary in Chile, and I was a white guy in Chilean culture, so I know what it is to an extent to be a minority,” said Ferrin.
Concerned about his family and insurance benefits, since his wife gave birth to his second child on January 22, Ferrin recently started a “Go Fund Me” campaign. He had raised about $4,700 Wednesday night.