ASU Police supervisor solicited sex from undercover cop

asu police supervisor arrested for soliciting sex

Yet another scandal is rocking ASUPD, fresh on the heels of the Pickens/Hardina PR debacle; however this time, it involves a civilian employee.

According to abc15:

TEMPE, AZ – A former Arizona State University employee is under investigation after Mesa police say he tried to buy sex from an undercover police officer, sources tell ABC15.

Separately, Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores told ABC15 that Lonny Foster was arrested on July 31.

According to ASU’s website, Foster was the Manager of Communications and Records for the ASU Police Department.

ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said Foster has been let go because of the investigation.

So much for keeping the department quiet for 90 days, Chief Thompson.

 

The truth behind ASUPD’s staffing numbers!

 

M Rourke have a staffing or morale problem.

Last night, our friends over at ABC15 published an article which highlighted ASUPD’s lack of staffing, and how the City of Tempe is fed up with  footing the bill for ASU’s problems.

TEMPE, AZ – For years, ASU has borrowed resources from Tempe Police Department and the City of Tempe for special events. However, that free ride will soon come to an end.

Lt. Mike Pooley says Tempe Police Department and the city of Tempe absorb the costs when ASU borrows resources from them.

Often times, Tempe officers help with football games and events.

However, the university and Tempe police department are working on an mutual aid agreement where ASU will pay for the extra resources.

“Right now we’re in the beginning phases of resources that ASU will pay for and what resources Tempe Police Department  will pay for,” said Pooley.

Currently ASU has 78 patrol officers, which is less than the recommended amount for the size of the university.

The 78 officers cover all of ASU’s Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix, and West campuses.

According to the President of International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) David Perry, universities are encouraged to follow the same FBI formula for staffing that other city police departments follow. Essentially it’s 2.1 officers per 1,000 students.

According to the equation, ASU should have around 153 patrol officers.

However Perry says the formula can be tricky because often times a college has to deal with the hand it’s given.

“They’re strapped in a tough position between getting the professors, academia and resources they need for the university and at the same time that they can spread those funds out.”

Besides the FBI equation, a university can also determine its staffing levels based on environmental factors, enrollment size and how many properties it has.

ASU declined multiple on-camera interviews from ABC-15 on this matter.

Michelle Rourke, a spokeswoman for ASU gave the following data for patrol officers at ASU:

July 2014 – total sworn: 78

January 2014 – total sworn: 74

July 2013 –  total sworn: 66

July 2012 –total sworn: 65

Julie Newberg, also with ASU, released this statement:

“ASU is working in close conjunction with the Tempe Police Department on numerous efforts to address student safety. These include the party patrol, Safe and Sober campaign, DUI taskforce and traffic enforcement. The Tempe Police Department will join ASU Police Department personnel on campus for back-to-school and move-in events to convey safety messages to students.”

It’s about time ASU ponies up cash to pay Tempe PD for all the resources the city expends during football season! Most of the traffic control–from directing traffic in pedestrian heavy intersections to closing down roads–occurs within Tempe’s jurisdiction. It’s extra time, money, and staffing Tempe has to spend to ensure an event that they receive NO funding for and doesn’t even occur in their jurisdiction runs smoothly. If the tables were turned and ASU had to foot the bill for another municipality, you better believe money-hungry ASU would ask to be reimbursed. Therefore, it is only fair that ASU stops mooching off the city, and pays Tempe PD for using its resources. After all, it’s not Tempe’s fault ASUPD can’t properly staff its special events.

As for the lack of staffing on ASU’s four campuses, you might recall in January, we posted a link to a Department of Justice study that analyzed staffing at university/college campuses. In the post, we illustrated how grossly understaffed ASUPD in comparison to the student populous. ABC15 recently revisited this issue, and also asked ASU officials to comment on the low staffing numbers for the PD. In lieu of agreeing to an on-camera interview, the university released a vague”statement”, and interim Assistant Chief Michele Rourke released the staffing numbers to ABC15.

What “Assistant Chief” Rourke failed to mention, however, is how ASUPD doesn’t really have 78 “patrol officers” because the majority of the people in the aforementioned number are assigned to duties OTHER THAN patrol!

The 78 officers that work patrol incorporates: 7 officers in training who are NOT able to work as solo units; 3 chiefs, 5 commanders, 17 sergeants, a K9 handler, 3 detectives, a special events officer, and a crime prevention officer…NONE of which engage in regular, routine patrol duties as one of the primary functions of their jobs! The vast majority of these positions are either supervisory in nature or incorporate desk work for the majority of the work day, so they aren’t “on patrol”.

When you subtract the new officers, administrators, supervisors, and people assigned to other duties, you’re left with about 40 officers to patrol 4 campuses twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. That number also doesn’t account for officers who may be out on sick leave, vacation, training, comp time, etc. Therefore, at any given time in the BEST case scenario, ASUPD has a mere 40 officers on patrol. THAT’S IT!

For the largest public university in the country with crime rates on the rise, only having 40 officers working in a patrol capacity is unacceptable! Promoting more and more people to interim positions in an already top-heavy department is operational suicide; there needs to be LESS administrators and MORE boots on the ground. This staffing issue has morphed from a nuisance to a legal liability, and unfortunately, it will only get worse until ASUPD retains competent leadership.

When shit hits the fan on patrol, is Thompson or Rourke going to be rolling code for backup? After all, that would require they find/wear their duty weapons, leave the comfort of their air conditioned office, and actually get their shiny patent leather boots dirty.

Here’s a redacted current schedule for Days and Nights that shows the truth of the staffing issue on the four Arizona State University campuses. The 400 badge numbers are not patrol units. The 500 badge numbers not available for patrol are noted.

ASU Police Day Schedule

ASU Police Nights Schedule

 

The ASUPD Ore snafu is far from over at ASU!

giphy

From the New Times Blog:

Ersula Ore, the assistant professor at Arizona State University whose violent arrest became national news because of a viral video, was sentenced today to nine months’ supervised probation.

Ore pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of passively resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. She’d been charged originally by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with three misdemeanor counts and one felony count of aggravated assault on a police officer related to the May 20 arrest.

On that evening, Ore had been walking on College Avenue near Fifth Street when Stewart Ferrin, a rookie ASU police officer, admonished her for walking in the street. She perceived his attitude as rude, and gave him some guff. For her troubles, she soon found herself being thrown to the ground and handcuffed as Ferrin arrested her. She can be seen on the video resisting Ferrin’s efforts to handcuff her, and launching a small kick to Ferrin’s legs. The video makes Ferrin look bad, too, as we’ve pointed out previously, due to his overreaction on a mere jaywalking stop, and inability — “I’m going to slam you on this car” — to handle Ore in gentlemanly fashion.

Video of the arrest by ASU police officer Stewart Ferrin was shared broadly on the Internet after Channel 3 News (KTVK-TV) first aired it in late June, inciting many viewers who believed Ore had suffered police brutality. Under public pressure, ASU officials — who had previously found that Ferrin acted appropriately — put Ferrin on administrative leave and asked the FBI to investigate the case for potential civil-rights violations.

Two weeks of bad publicity received by ASU was followed by the unexpected departures of ASU Police Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief James Hardina. ASU claimed, unbelievably, that the departures had nothing to do with Ore.

As of Thursday, Ferrin was still on leave, ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told New Times.

Also on Thursday, a website called “Down and Drought” published an article by an anonymous author that highlights the apparent responses of police officers to the Ore case. “Agualarchy,” (who could be John Huppenthal for all we know), also criticizes New Times for predicting that Ore won’t make good on her threat to “sue the (bleep) out of the officer,” and for failing to mention old, debunked allegations against Ferrin’s father, John Ferrin in our previous articles about Ore.

With Ferrin on leave, the departures of ASU’s top brass unexplained, and the FBI investigation unfinished, you can expect to hear some more in the near future on this widely publicized case.

The Phoenix New Times writer, Ray Stern, hit the nail right on the head when it comes to the Ore snafu; after initially standing behind Officer Ferrin following the arrest of Professor Ore, ASU later threw Ferrin under the bus due to mounting public pressure. The university’s  attempts to explain the ousting both Chief Pickens and Assistant Chief Hardina as unrelated to Ore’s arrest were both comical and unbelievable; apparently, ASUPD had gotten so accustomed to presenting half-truths to members of the department (where any dissenting opinion is quashed immediately), they wrongly assumed the general public would fall for the same line.

While Ore’s criminal case is finished, the entire saga at ASU is far from over; the disposition of Officer Ferrin’s career has yet to be determined. Ferrin was reportedly asked to resign his position as a peace officer so that ASUPD could forgo the formality of doing an actual “investigation” (smartly, Ferrin told ASUPD to pound sand). Both the FBI and DPS’ investigations into wrong-doing on the part of Officer Ferrin are ongoing, with no end in sight.

ASUPD remains shell-shocked following the purge of Pickens and Hardina, and continues to fall apart (albeit more slowly) as another school year begins. ASU’s administration is now micromanaging the departmen to prevent the university from experiencing another PR meltdown–essentially making Interim Chief Thompson a powerless talking head.

With this whole debacle fresh in the public’s mind, you can be certain that any further scandals coming out about ASUPD will surely mean the end of the Michael Crow-era at ASU (we heard McDonald’s is always hiring, sir).

Where did we go? We are gearing up for the next round.

2gif

We’ve received a few emails asking why there have been a lack of posts fairly recently. We have not been “muzzled” or won-over by the promises of “change” by ASUPD’s new leadership. The fact of the matter is that everyone who was in Command Staff during the era of Pickens is equally to blame for the department’s problems. Continuously using Pickens as a scapegoat after his departure is cheap; the fact of the matter is, you all were there working under Pickens and you failed to even attempt to do “the right thing”. Why should any department member trust ANY of the previous members of Command Staff that the circumstances have changed?

We want to present more hard factual information about the situation at ASU beyond citing media stories, and unfortunately that takes time.

We’ve been fighting with ASU behind the scenes to receive several FOIA requests we put in months ago. Apparently, we’re not alone in this battle either; our media contacts have also experienced the same stonewalling from ASU. There is information which exists that is obviously damaging , so much so that the university is willing to risk legal action if they don’t comply with the FOIA requests.

The problems at ASUPD didn’t happen overnight, nor were the changes started by The Integrity Report. Anything that is worth having takes time and patience.

As always….stand by, folks.

 

Under increasing public and media scrutiny, ASU starts waffling in the case of Officer Ferrin

????????????????

As Assistant Professor Ore’s case continues to make its way from the headlines to the courtroom, ASU Police Officer Stuart Ferrin’s actions are under further scrutiny by an FBI and another ASU investigation! ASU has stepped away from its original investigation which cleared Officer Ferrin of any wrongdoing in the arrest of Ursula Ore, and instead decided to submit to the media/public pressure calling for Ferrin’s termination.

On June 28, 2014, ASU officials originally released a statement to 3TV and other news outlets that said,

“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. “Because the underlying criminal charges are pending, there is not much more we can say at this time. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has reviewed all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements, and audio and video recordings of the incident, and decided to press criminal 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 response to the increasing media coverage and controversy over of the incident, ASUPD released a secondary statement to the Huffington Post one day after the original statement:

“The ASU Police Department is enlisting an outside law-enforcement agency to conduct an independent review on whether excessive force was used and if there was any racial motivation by the officers involved.

In addition, although no university protocols were violated, university police are conducting a review of whether the officer involved could have avoided the confrontation that ensued.

According to the police report, ASU Police initially spoke to Assistant Professor Ore because officers patrolling the area nearly hit her with their police vehicle as they turned the vehicle onto College Avenue to investigate a disabled vehicle.  Officer Stewart Ferrin had no intention of citing or arresting Ore, but for her safety, told her to walk on the sidewalk.  When Ore refused to comply and refused to provide identification after she was asked for it multiple times, she was subsequently arrested.”

Only AFTER ASU received a slew of negative media coverage (and AFTER ASUPD cleared Officer Ferrin) did the university place him on administrative leave, and subsequently initiate a SECOND investigation (based on no violations of law or policy).

 Following the carefully camouflaged terminations of Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief James Hardina, Assistant Chief Michael Thompson assumed command as interim Chief of ASU Police. He issued a customary introduction letter via email and stated, “As you know there is an ongoing investigation into the contact between Officer Ferrin and Professor Ore. Therefore, I cannot go into detail about the incident beyond the following: No decision has been made within our department, or Arizona State University executive administration, with respect to the outcome of that incident. Once the investigation(s) are concluded, I expect those documents will be forwarded adjudicated based on all of the available facts.”

ASUPD interim positions during meltdown

How can Thompson state that no decision has been made within the department? What about the decision that was already made which cleared Officer Ferrin of any wrongdoing? Where is Officer Ferrin’s voice in this entire discussion?

Professor Ore has been allowed to publicly defend herself and speak freely to the media, but Officer Ferrin–under order from the university– hasn’t been able to speak and defend his actions. This scenario perfectly illustrates the notion that ASU has very different rules for its employees depending on where they fall in the administrative food chain.

Retired Mesa police officer Bill Richardson decided to be Officer Ferrin’s “voice” in a recent article published in the East Valley Tribune. We wanted to repost this article in its entirety because it sheds light on a very one-sided media issue.

Reposted here in its entirety:

Who is Arizona State University Police Officer Stewart Ferrin, the officer who has been accused of abusing ASU Professor Ersula Ore?

On May 20, 2014, Officer Ferrin arrested ASU Professor Ore on multiple charges, including felony assault on a police officer, following her being stopped for walking down the middle of the road. Ore initially pled innocence and self-defense to the public and national media, but has now pled guilty to resisting arrest and faces up to six-months in the Maricopa County Jail’s “Tent City.”

ASU Police reportedly investigated Ferrin’s conduct following the arrest and no misconduct was found. Even with Ore’s guilty plea and ASU officials clearing Ferrin of any misconduct, as soon as Ore’s publicity machine took her plea of being abused nationwide, Ferrin became the target of another investigation and a request by university officials to have the FBI investigate Ferrin for civil rights violations.

In an email to ASU faculty, University Provost Rob Page praised Ore and pointed a veiled finger in Ferrin’s direction. For a man who is a trained scientist and “charged with the stewardship of Arizona State University,” you’d have thought his bias would’ve been kept in check and he’d have at least waited for the results of the FBI investigation before taking sides.

Talk about getting thrown under the bus.

ASU has yet to publicly announce if it is even going to investigate Ore’s criminal conduct and her reported alleged obscenity laced threats against the officer. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

The portrayal of Ore as the victim and Ferrin as a thug has been well orchestrated. No one has talked about Ferrin as a person.

The following information was obtained from those who know and work with him. Ferrin has been ordered to sit at home and been “gagged” by university officials from speaking for himself.

Ferrin grew up wanting to be a cop like his dad. At 12 he had his own lawn mowing business. He spent 10 years as a Boy Scout and earned the Eagle Scout Award. His Eagle Scout project was organizing and gathering together 50 volunteers to attack Tempe’s serious graffiti problem in a gang-ridden neighborhood. During his ten-years in the Scouts he also served four-years with the Mesa Police Explorers where he was presented with the Prudential Spirit of Service Award for his dedication and volunteerism.

In high school he worked at a local bank in an internship program. After high school he used his own savings to pay part of the costs for his Church of Latter-day Saints mission. He served two-years in Chile where he not only held a leadership position among his fellow missionaries, he was called upon to work with the U. S. Air Force as a translator in the massive 8.8 earthquake relief efforts in 2010.

Following his mission he worked full-time and volunteered at the Tempe Police Department where he was again recognized for his service and presented the Presidential Service Award.

He was hired by ASU Police in 2011 to work in communications. Six-months later after passing a series of examinations including a psychological evaluation, polygraph test and background investigation he was selected to attend the police academy. He attended the same five-month police academy officers from throughout the valley attend, including Tempe officers. He then completed an equally long field-training program before being assigned to patrol duties. Because of his Spanish speaking and cultural skills his fellow ASU officers and Tempe police called upon him often to assist in translations and investigations.

Since joining the ASU PD his volunteerism has continued with the W. Steven Martin Toy Drive at Christmas and the annual Scottsdale Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” program. He has a wife, a child and a baby on the way.

Years of caring and service aren’t the character traits of a badge heavy police officer that abuses someone during an arrest.

The portrayal of Ferrin as a thug and out of control rogue cop is far cry from who he really is and his lengthy record of service and compassion as a Boy Scout, LDS Missionary, Tempe police volunteer, dedicated ASU police officer, husband and father.

I’d rather have Officer Ferrin responding to help my child who attends ASU than having her in a class with professor Ore.

 

Professor Ore has been afforded the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, so why is ASU still waffling over whether or not Officer Ferrin is also afforded that right? Are our rights as police officers and also private citizens also subject to the aforementioned waffling?

 

The media is reading the Integrity Report and they want YOUR stories!!

4i8NS

The past few days at ASUPD have been very hectic; the administrative melt-down we’ve all been hoping for has finally happened at ASUPD (and it may be a sign of the times for the department).

On Thursday, we were the first to report that Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief Jim Hardina were abruptly removed from their positions within the department. According to witnesses, both employees were given boxes and seen pushing carts full of their belongings out the door to their vehicles. The Phoenix New Times Valley Fever blog quickly picked up on our story, and cited us as a primary information source (see the story about Pickens here, and the follow up story about Pickens/Hardina here). New Times blogger Ray Stern contacted the university’s PR gurus (who confirmed the emails we posted were authentic) for a statement, and they were unable to provide a logical explanation for the abrupt nature of both Pickens’ and Hardina’s departures.

On a separate, but not totally unrelated note: another media source has contacted The Integrity Report in search of current and former ASUPD employees who are willing to share their stories. The source has stated that anyone wishing to share their ASUPD experiences CAN have their identities withheld! If you are interested in participating, send an email to:

firstamendmentftw@hushmail.com

We don’t need your name or your story; once we receive an email expressing interest, we will send you the contact information of the person with which you can share your story. We strongly encourage EVERY current and former ASUPD employee to speak up and allow their experiences to be shared with the WORLD! This is one more medium we can all collectively use to affect positive change and accountability at ASUPD.

In this edition of ASUPD’s Hunger Games: Hardina and Pickens are immediately removed from their positions!

ASU Police chiefs fired

Everyday life at ASUPD has morphed from a job that somewhat resembled a watered-down version of  law enforcement to a real life version of The Hunger Games; if one can survive the work day in the presence of low morale and arbitrary enforcement of policies/law without going insane or killing/harming themselves or another employee, they will be safe until the following days reaping. Those that don’t make it to the end of the workday are thrown to the wolves (metaphorically, of course) and become another HR statistic on a piece of paper in Kevin Salcido’s office.

In today’s edition of ASUPD’s Hunger Games, the two employees that didn’t survive the workday today were Assistant Chief James Hardina, and Chief John Pickens.

This afternoon, ASU CFO Morgan Olsen sent the following email out to all ASUPD employees:

Chief out by Friday and Thompson is in

Hardena dont let the door hit your ass on the way out

The Assistant Chief (Thompson) over admin “ascends” to the position of acting Chief instead of the AC above patrol operations…odd. There is also no mention of Hardina vacating his position AT ALL in the above email; only after Hardina was seen packing up his desk and officially left the building was patrol notified about Hardina’s departure. We speculate that Hardina was forced out of his position by someone in the university, simply because Hardina doesn’t have another job waiting for him, nor is he remotely close to retirement.

The email also mentioned that Pickens will be vacating his position as Chief by this Friday, July 11th. This is a complete 180 from the email sent to all ASUPD employees barely a month ago, which stated that Pickens would remain in his position until his successor was hired. Pickens’ “leave” was probably forced upon him by the university who will most likely allow him to “retire” quietly, instead of rewarding his bad behavior with another cushy ASU job.

Someone at ASU finally wised up to the fact that the entire ASUPD Command staff was allowed to function relatively unchecked for decades. Command staff’s strategy of punishing those who speak out against them while allowing their “battle buddies” to do whatever they please FINALLY backfired; its hard to employ that tactic when your department is beyond critical staffing levels and the FBI/news media are sniffing around your dirty laundry.

Until the department has cleaned out “Chief” Thompson and  all of his Command staff, we expect to see ASUPD’s Hunger Games played out on a daily basis.

AZCES raises relevant questions about ASUPD’s ability to train and investigate its officers

ASU Police Officer assaults prisoner

The Arizona Center for Ethnic Studies group raised some pretty interesting questions regarding ASUPD’s ability to train and investigate its officers. In the post, AZCES appeal to ASU’s administration with the following questions:

  • What policies and practices are in place at ASUPD regarding accountability for racial profiling and use of force?  How are complaints filed and investigated?  What is ASUPD’s record of complaints?  What kinds of training are in place to ensure police conduct that upholds the rights and dignity of all ASU community members?
  • What is the name of the outside law enforcement agency that will be reviewing this case?  What, specifically will they be reviewing?  What are the standards they will be using to evaluate officer conduct?  How many similar audits have they conducted in the past and what have been the outcomes of their investigations?

Although we strongly disagree with AZCES’s assertion that Officer Ferrin used force excessively and engaged in racial profiling, the points they raised are valid ones and are not just limited to the topics of use of force/racial profiling. AZCES’ blogpost has grazed the surface of the much larger issues raised on The Integrity Report involving training and supervision of ASUPD employees and transparency/fairness in internal affairs investigations

In any major investigation (such as the FBI’s probe of ASUPD), the actions of the individual involved is dissected, as well and the training and supervisor that the individual received. If the department acted negligently by not providing either adequate supervision or training, then the department (and also university) is also at fault. This could mean a litany of lawsuits against the university in circumstances where the arresting officer was trained by an FTO who wasn’t certified to be training, or supervised by an FTO or patrol Sergeant who wasn’t properly certified or trained to supervise others. Not only does this hold true for officers currently employed at ASUPD, but would also include officers who made arrests while employed at ASUPD that work for other departments or who have left LE completely.

Considering the amount of officers that have left ASUPD in the past 5-10 years, ASU could be facing a major class action lawsuit. 

Although this situation with Officer Ferrin is unfortunate (and again, we do believe he will be exonerated), it has brought a lot of attention and media scrutiny to a major problem that has been plaguing ASUPD for years. It will be interesting to watch the chain of events unfold in real-time.

Again…stand by, folks.

The FBI is poking around at ASUPD!

…and the plot thickens.

Today an email was sent out to PD employees everyone that ASUPD has requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigate the allegations that Ursula Ore had her civil rights violated by Officer Ferrin. This is not surprising to any PD employee, because the issue of racially profiling was already brought up the Arizona Critical Ethnic Studies group, as well as the mainstream media.

Although Officer Ferrin was administratively cleared by ASUPD, he was crucified in the court of public opinion! Therefore, to remove themselves from any potential conflict of interest in the eyes of the public, ASUPD asked the FBI to investigate Ore’s arrest (which was a surprisingly smart move for ASUPD). However, what ASUPD does not realize is they also put an ENTIRE department’s actions under the microscope! This would include other officer’s arrests where force was used, the department’s IAs/”reviews” of other uses of force, as well as ANY allegations of biased policing against ANY officer at ASUPD.

We have previously mentioned several allegations of racially-charged comments and possible bias on behalf of Sgt. Mark Aston in a previous post (Aston was also mentioned at length in our post about ASUPD’s firearms training). Some of these situations were investigated  and “cleared” due to the fact the IA was conducted by a friend of Aston. Some other situations were never investigated and were subject to an “informal review” (thanks to a poster for mentioning specific dates and IA numbers)! These “informal reviews” allow the department to appear as though they are investigating a situation, but there is no paper trail available for an outside entity to FOIA–in other words, the “reviews” or “investigations” do not exist.

We have also mentioned allegations of excessive use of force by Corporal Luke Khalid against a student which was never initially investigated, then subject to an “informal review” months later. A FOIA request for this particular investigation was submitted to ASU’s General Council which turned up ZERO documentation or evidence of any IA.

We are more than confident Officer Ferrin will be cleared of any racial bias; he is an honest cop who has never engaged in any activity that could remotely be construed as racism or bias. We are also confident that the FBI’s investigation will turn up the true bad guys who routinely engage in illegal behavior at ASUPD.

Two birds, one stone.

The FBI investigates ASUPD

Our response to the arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore + “Use of Force” review panel?

ASU profesor Ore arrest

We have received a LOT of emails asking about our opinion about the arrest of ASU professor Ersula Ore. We wanted to comment about this situation and also tie it into other issues we’ve previously mentioned on The Integrity Report (to bring the discussion full-circle).

First, we would like to preface this post with the qualifier that none of the writers of the blog were there for the arrest of Ms. Ersula Ore. We have not spoken to the arresting officer nor any other officers involved in this situation; our conclusions come solely from second-hand and media accounts of the situation.

Our blog, The Integrity Report, was created after problems involving accountability and integrity with ASUPD employees began to overshadow the goal of having a safe and secure learning environment. Our mission is to hold officers accountable for their actions which tarnish the oath all of us swore to uphold; we have absolutely NO interest or stake in defending the officer involved in the arrest of Ms. Ore.

That being said, we are pretty perplexed by the statement made by Arizona Critical Ethnic Studies where they state Ms. Ore was racially profiled by ASUPD Officer Ferrin. There was nothing in any part of the initial contact or arrest that was remotely racially based! ACES made the assumption that Ms. Ore was contacted while walking in the City of Tempe only because she was black; what they failed to mention is that Ms. Ore was walking down the middle of the street in a major intersection and the officer contacted her because nearly hit her while responding to a call.

Walking down the middle of the street is behavior that can be indicative of someone in mental distress, under the influence of alcohol/drugs, or possibly suicidal. As first responders, sometimes we don’t have the ability to stop and explain the entire situation with someone if the circumstances are too exigent. This is just common sense! Would you want an officer responding to a burglary call at your house to stop and give you the play by play while the bad guy runs out your back door?

Officer Ferrin reportedly had no intention of citing Ms. Ore for walking in the street (which is against the law!). Ms. Ore repeatedly refused to show her ID multiple times when asked by the responding officer (which she is required to provide under the law). When Officer Ferrin attempted to take Ms. Ore into custody, she began to resist arrest and also attempted to trip the officer by wrapping her leg around him. Once Ms. Ore was taken into custody, the dash cam video clearly shows her kicking Officer Ferrin in the leg.

ACES stated that Ms. Ore’s lower body was exposed during the altercation, but they fail to mention if it occurred while Ms. Ore attempted to trip the officer (something that occurred–her dress flew up–as a result of an action she did–tripping the officer). The fact that Ms. Ore’s lower body was exposed was unfortunate, but certainly not intentional, especially given the fact there were multiple witnesses filming the situation.

If Officer Ferrin was at fault, ASU would throw him under the bus in a heartbeat to preserve their image. Additionally, the officer would be facing administrative punishment or criminal charges, neither of which is occurring at the moment. Is the dash cam video footage shocking? Absolutely. But the untrained observer must realize there is no pretty way to use force on a subject. Unlike the scenarios TV shows and movies portray, there is no “easy” way to take someone into custody that is actively and physically resisting arrest. In this scenario, the force used to affect the arrest certainly appears reasonable given the circumstances of the arrest.

Does ASUPD need a “Use of Force” review panel?

The above scenario involving Officer Ferrin raises the larger issue of reviewing officers’ use of force; are the members of the department that are actually investigating these incidents even qualified to do so? In this circumstance, due to the very sensitive subject matter, ASUPD requested that DPS review Officer Ferrin’s use of force, even after the department found that his use of force was reasonable. DPS undoubtedly has people that are certified defensive tactics instructors that possess the training and experience to review the case with a certain degree of expertise that ASUPD cannot do (We are extremely confident that DPS will also find Officer Ferrin’s use of force was justified, by the way). ASUPD’s Commanders (who would be tasked with an investigation such as this) have NO advanced DT training or certification that would make them qualified to investigate a use of force scenario, period.

How would ASUPD respond to a use of force scenario that was much more muddled than this one (no video or audio)? Or perhaps a scenario in which the responding officer used force, was tried in the court of public opinion, and the university wanted to fire him/her to save face? Better yet, what about an officer who used excessive force and was never reprimanded or investigated? ASUPD’s ability to initiate and investigate use of force scenarios is arbitrary, at best (just like all ASUPD initiated IAs).

The deciding factor in an officer’s fate shouldn’t be left to a supervisor who has little training on the topic of use of force, and who may not be able to review the case without bias due to a preexisting relationship with the officer or external influences. ASUPD should consider establishing a “Use of Force” review panel comprised of DT instructors, some administrators, and possibly a civilian, none of which would have any ties to ASUPD. A review panel is in place at almost every other major law enforcement agency in the valley already! This would serve to vindicate officer’s whose use of force was justified (Officer Ferrin), and punish those who have used excessive force (Corporal Khalid).

 

Edited to add some links to media coverage of this incident:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/30/justice/arizona-jaywalking-arrest/index.html

http://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/tempe/video-officer-throws-arizona-state-university-professor-to-the-ground

http://www.azfamily.com/news/ASU-professor-talks-about-arrest-on-CNN-265267761.html

http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/7336906-Video-of-police-arresting-ASU-professor-goes-viral/

 http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/06/ersula_ore_arrest_to_be_reviewed_by_asu_and_independent_agency_after_video_goes_viral.php