The news: A new video of police brutality has surfaced, and it's very disturbing.
Captured in Tempe, Ariz., on May 20 and just recently released, the police dash cam video shows Dr. Ersula Ore, an English professor at Arizona State University, getting body slammed by a police officer after being stopped for jaywalking near campus. Officer Stewart Ferrin, a member of the campus police force, stopped Ore and demanded to see her ID. From there, the situation quickly got out of hand:
OFFICER: Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID.
ORE: Are you serious?
OFFICER: Yes, I'm serious. That is the law. If you don't understand the law I'm explaining the law to you ...
ORE: ... 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. Everybody has been doing this because it is all obstructed. That's the reason why. But you stop me in the middle of the street to pull me over and ask me, 'Do you know what this is? This is a street.'...
OFFICER: Are you aware this is a street?
ORE: Let me finish.
OFFICER: OK, put your hands behind your back.
ORE: Don't touch me, get your hands off me ...
OFFICER: ... Put your hands behind your back right now. I'm going to slam you on this car. Put your hand behind your back.
ORE: You really want to do that? Do you see what I'm wearing? Do you see?
OFFICER: I don't care what you are wearing.
ORE: Don't talk to me like that. This entire thing has been about your lack of respect for me.
After that, the officer became much more physical with Ore, pinning her against his police car and then slamming her down on the ground. Around this point, Ore, who was wearing a dress, became partially exposed, according to Ore's attorney (this isn't visible in the video recording), and kicked Ferrin in the shin.
Watch the full dash-cam video below. It's pretty rough.
So the officer's in trouble, right? Wrong. According to a statement released by ASU to the local TV station covering the story:
"ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved. Should such evidence be discovered, an additional, thorough inquiry will be conducted and appropriate actions taken."
Ferrin is basically getting off scot-free. But what about Ore, the victim of this intense altercation? As backwards as it is, she's the one being charged. Ore is facing 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."
In human-speak, this means she's being charged with for "jaywalking, asking why she was being treated with so much hostility, falling over while being man-handled and then possibly defending herself while being exposed and pinned down by a police officer." Doesn't quite add up, does it?
A troubling trend: These videos and incidents surface occasionally and paint a gruesome picture of police brutality in America. But perhaps the most troubling aspect is that these are just glimpses of a massive problem in the country and no on seems to care; in some parts of the country, like central New Jersey, 99% of police brutality complaints go investigated. And it's much worse among minorities; a 2003 study in the Justice Policy Journal found "racially discriminatory policing is a white versus people of color problem, specifically interpersonal conflict between white police officers and people of color."
What's ironic about Ore's incident is that she teaches a class at ASU on Race Critical Theory. You have to wonder if this will factor into next year's curriculum.