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Investigation determines that Ithaca police officer did not use excessive force

A man and woman arrested on the Commons, amid claims that police used excessive force. Some called the incident a sign of racial bias.

Once charges were dismissed, the police union spoke to city lawmakers publicly. It started with an incident caught on an Ithaca police officer’s body camera last April. An officer allegedly witnessed a man, Cadji Ferguson, punching another man.

The footage then shows a woman, Rose De Groat, hitting an officer multiple times after police intervened. “The officers tried to control the situation as quickly as possible and as best as possible, under circumstances that are difficult, dealing with a lot of unknowns that are unfolding in front of them,” said Police Chief Dennis Naylor.

Ferguson was tased by officers. He and De Groat were both arrested and charged. That led to an outcry from many in the community.

“I got a lot of letters, I got a lot of e-mails, phone calls from various perspectives,” said District Attorney Michael Van Houten.

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