With Her Charges Dismissed, African-American Woman Wants Ithaca Police Penalized

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The young woman arrested after an altercation on the Ithaca Commons last spring hopes the incident will lead to change.

A judge dismissed charges against Rose de Groat last Friday.

De Groat and a friend, Cadji Ferguson, who are both black, were arrested by Ithaca Police officers. Videos of the arrests showed police tazing Ferguson with de Groat trying to protect him. Ferguson was later found not guilty.

The incident led to months of protests in Ithaca by social justice groups.

Celia Clarke/WKSG Public Media

Protesters temporarily blocked the a street outside the Tompkins County courthouse Friday, September 20, 2019. (Photo: Celia Clarke/WKSG Public Media)

De Groat says she wants the community of Ithaca to prevent a similar incident. “I think what I would like is just to see that there’s some sort of disciplinary action,” she said.

I’m not asking for anyone to lose their job” she said. “I wish that they would just realize that there’s some sort of consequence to their actions.”

In the ruling, the judge wrote “Ms. DeGroat witnessed the police charge toward her friend, forcibly grab him and inexplicably taser him. She saw him collapse to the ground , unable to move.”

“In the Court’s view, Ms. DeGroat reacted instinctively to protect Mr. Ferguson in this fast moving and bewildering situation. If not for the regrettable actions of the police, she likely would not have intervened.”

The judge wrote that the police officer’s use of a taser on Mr. Ferguson was unjustified.

An internal police investigation found no wrongdoing by the officers involved.