On May 20, 2014, Ersula Ore Assistant Professor of English at Arizona State University was nearly hit by a police car when she jaywalked across a street where construction was taking place. The officer who was driving got out of the car and asked the professor for her ID, presumably to write a citation. The professor demurred. The officer asked again, and again the professor refused. Things escalated from there, and wound up exactly as you might expect when a civilian gives a cop guff: the professor was arrested. The charges against her were manifold:
1. Felony Aggravated Assault on an Officer
2. Misdemeanor Damaging/Defacing Police Property
3. Misdemeanor Obstruction/Refusal to Identify
4. Misdemeanor Obstruction of Public Thoroughfare
Concerned citizens everywhere urged Professor Ore to fight the good fight against racism, sexism, and police brutality. They–and/or she–even set up a legal defense fund because Professor Ore
vigorously disputes the charges that have been outlined by police and fully intends to fight the charges in a court of law. With no prior police record, eye witness accounts of the incident, and recorded video evidence, Dr.Ore is confident that the criminal case against her will be dismissed once she has an opportunity to tell her side of the story.
Needless to say
[f]riends & [s]upporters of Dr. Ersula Ore…are concerned. The timing of this incident was unfortunate.* But, despite her busy academic schedule, Ersula has committed herself, with the support of family, colleagues, community leaders and a robust network of friends, to fighting these charges. As Ersula is still at the early stages of her career and in academe, her financial resources are limited. To ensure that Ersula’s name is cleared and the charges are dismissed, she intends to mount an aggressive, yet appropriate legal defense. For this reason, we are asking each of you, as a network of individuals who have supported Ersula at various stages of her life and professional career, to provide whatever monetary support you can. Any amount will help.
Ersula has retained the legal services of a prominent Phoenix-based criminal defense attorney and 100% of the proceeds raised will go towards fighting the criminal charges set forth by the police department. A trust account has been opened in Ersula’s name at Arizona State Credit Union where donations can be deposited directly.
Those of you who contributed to the ASCU fund should rest easy that your money has been well spent. Today Professor Ore pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. The other charges against her were dropped. Her prominent attorney did great job.
It may take a while longer to “clear her name,” however, because Professor Ore’s sentencing is set for August 1, according to the Phoenix New Times.
*It’s not entirely clear how Professor Ore’s May 20 jaywalking adventure conflicted with her busy academic schedule. ASU classes and finals were over by then, and Commencement (traditionally liberation day for faculty who hold full-time, i.e., nine-month, contracts) took place on May 15. Maybe she teaches summer school.