What Can We Learn from Prof. Ore’s Arrest?

Last week I was interviewed by Arizona Republic Reporter Connor Wince about ASU professor Ersula Ore who was roughly arrested by ASU Police Officer Stewart Ferrin for walking in the middle of the street and then failing to show ID.  After she was arrested, Prof. Ore is accused of kicking Off. Ferrin in the shin and was also charged with Aggravated Assault.

AZ Republic: Nation Reacts to ASU Professor’s Arrest

This is the dash cam video of Prof. Ore’s arrest:

Here are my opinions about the stop and the video:

  1. Off. Ferrin was overly aggressive in his tone and demeanor when he initiated the stop.
  2. Off. Ferrin went “hands on” prematurely and manhandled Prof. Ore.
  3. Off. Ferrin is incorrect when he tells Prof. Ore she has to show him ID.  Arizona law requires you to provide your full name to a police officer upon request, but you are not required to show ID unless you are operating a motor vehicle.
  4. Prof. Ore’s demeanor at the beginning of the stop was argumentative and overly defensive.  Arguing with the police never goes well for the person arguing.
  5. Prof. Ore may have a valid self-defense claim, once Off. Ferrin starts to try to throw her to the ground.
  6. Prof. Ore probably overstepped a valid self-defense claim at the point she kicks Off. Ferrin in the shin.

Police officers are just like any other kind of person: there are good ones and bad ones.  When interacting with the police, whether you are dealing with a good cop or a bad cop, it is always best to be polite and courteous.  That does not mean you have to cooperate with them.  You can be polite and still refuse to answer their questions or refuse to consent to a search.

Arizona law specifically states you are not justified in resisting an arrest, even if it is an unlawful arrest.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are being wrongfully arrested, the best thing to do is be polite, don’t resist, and let the legal system sort it out.  This is a case where Prof. Ore may have undermined any civil rights claims for an unlawful arrest because she appears to have kicked Off. Ferrin after the arrest.

Update July 9, 2014: Professor Ore plead guilty to misdemeanor Resisting Arrest earlier today.  All other charges were dropped.