Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Traffic Enforcement

Arizona Police Arrest “Jaywalking” Professor in Racially-Charged Incident

2:31 PM EDT on June 30, 2014

Arizona earned its reputation for police excess yet again recently when an officer demanded identification of an African-American pedestrian -- for the crime of walking in a campus street to avoid construction on the sidewalk -- and got violent when she refused to produce it.

Arizona State University professor Ersula Ore was walking around some construction on the Tempe college campus last month when an ASU police officer stopped her. Before she could even explain why she was walking in the street, he asked her for ID. When she bristled at the request, he threatened her with arrest. Before long, he had slammed her violently to the ground, her body exposed, and his hands in all the wrong places.

“The reason I’m talking to you right now is because you’re walking in the middle of the street,” Officer Stewart Ferrin told Ore when he stopped her. “That’s called obstruction of a public thoroughfare.”

“I’ve been here for over three years and everybody walks this street,” she replied. “Everybody’s been doing this because it’s all obstructed. That’s the reason why. But you stop me in the middle of street to pull me over and you ask me, ‘Do you know what this is? This is a street -- ’”

“This is a street,” Ferrin interjects.

Then he demands that she put her hands behind her back, she demands that he take his hands off her, and trigger warnings start to fly.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Pols Detail ‘Road Map’ For Safe Streets in Western Queens

A group of western Queens lawmakers released a plan for street safety projects they want to see before 2030.

November 28, 2023

Tuesday’s Headlines: Restorative (Traffic) Justice Edition

Two stories highlighted a restorative justice program that allows traffic crash victims and perpetrators the chance to meet face-to-face. Plus more news.

November 28, 2023

Top NJ Lawmaker Proposes Major Reforms to Fight Temporary License Plate Fraud

The new legislation follows a seven-month Streetsblog investigation that found widespread fraud involving temp tags, with car dealers abusing weak state regulations and selling paper plates illegally to drivers using them to evade accountability on the road.

November 28, 2023

Fed Panel Wants to Confront the Role of Aggressive Auto Advertising in U.S. Road Deaths

A horrific car crash has federal safety officials calling for systematic responses to traffic violence — including the aggressive car ads that may inspire motorists to hit the gas.

November 28, 2023

A ‘Giving Tuesday’ Streetsblog Primer

Before we ask for your donation, let us prove to you that we're worthy of it!

November 28, 2023
See all posts