Civil rights leaders ‘change minds’ about officer in ASU professor excessive force incident

Jan 27, 2015, 5:58 PM
LISTEN: Officer Stewart Ferrin and Attorney Mel McDonald

Last May, ASU police officer Stewart Ferrin became the subject of controversy when he was accused by an ASU assistant professor, Ersula Ore, for use of excessive force and wrongful arrest.

A dashboard-camera video of the arrest showed Ferrin telling Ore repeatedly to put her hands behind her back. She refused and he said he would “slam her” on the police car. The footage shows him tackling her to the ground. The police report filed says Ore, 33, argued with the officer after he stopped her for walking in the middle of the street and told her to walk on the sidewalk. She reportedly refused requests to show identification.

The video of the incident went viral, and Ferrin was put on leave in July. In the beginning of January, he was told ASU intended to terminate him (a decision has not yet been announced). Ore later pled guilty to one count of resisting arrest and got nine months of probation. Ore has filed a $2 million claim against the school for financial, emotional and psychological damages stemming from the arrest.

The incident also sparked outrage by civil rights leaders in the Valley — Ferrin is white and Ore is black. The leaders, including Reverend Jarrett Maupin, had supported Ore’s request for Ferrin’s termination.

However, after a meeting between Ferrin and a half-dozen other community leaders Tuesday, Maupin seems to have changed his mind.

It all started when Ferrin’s attorney, Mel McDonald, heard Maupin on Mac and Gaydos on KTAR News 92.3. Maupin made claims that Ferrin was a racist and McDonald was “outraged.” He then called in and requested an interview himself, in order to tell both sides of the story.

MCDonald then got a call from Maupin last Friday, which led to a lunch meeting between the Reverend and Ferrin and other community leaders.

“I give him worlds of credit,” McDonald said, in regards to Maupin’s personal investigation of the incident.

Maupin reportedly changed his mind about Ferrin after speaking with him and “seeing there wasn’t a racist bone in his body.”

Maupin admitted he made a mistake and said he felt Ferrin should be reinstated. He also said he would send McDonald a letter requesting he be reinstated.

“He looked at the facts, he took a deeper dive into it and came to his own conclusions of where he needed to stand,” said Ferrin.

McDonald thinks Ore will be aware of the incident as well.

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Civil rights leaders ‘change minds’ about officer in ASU professor excessive force incident