Charlotte officer not indicted in fatal shooting after car wreck

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CHARLOTTE (AP) — A grand jury has declined to indict a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer on a voluntary manslaughter charge in the shooting death of a former Florida A&M football player.
Randall Kerrick was charged in the September death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, who was unarmed. The state Attorney General’s office presented evidence to a grand jury Tuesday.
But the grand jury decided not to indict the officer on voluntary manslaughter. Instead, the panel asked the prosecutor to submit a lesser charge.
The Attorney General’s office issued a statement saying that less than a full grand jury had heard the case, and that it would resubmit the request for an indictment to a full panel.
“It would be in the best interest of justice to resubmit this case to a full grand jury, which we plan to do as soon as possible,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement.
It was unclear whether the attorney general would seek the same charge or a lesser one before the full grand jury. Attorney General spokeswoman Noelle Talley said she had no additional information.
Attorneys for Ferrell’s family said they were disappointed.
“It is shocking. You wonder what in the world was going on in that grand jury room,” Attorney Charles Monnett III said.
Another family attorney, Chris Chestnut, said the Attorney General’s office has kept the family in the dark.
The family has “zero confidence” in the prosecution, Chestnut said. He said it took the office months to convene a grand jury and when they did, “they can’t even convince them to get an indictment” even though they had a dashboard video that shows the shooting.
“I don’t know what they presented to the grand jury,” he said.
A telephone call to Kerrick’s attorney was not immediately returned.
This was the latest development in the racially charged case. Kerrick is white and Ferrell is black.
Ferrell’s family filed a lawsuit against Kerrick and Police Chief Rodney Monroe last week in Mecklenburg County Superior Court. The lawsuit says that Kerrick used excessive force. The family said the city of Charlotte and the police department failed to ensure its officers are adequately trained and instructed in the use of force.
The city has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Ferrell had given a co-worker a ride home on Sept. 14. After dropping the friend off, Ferrell drove his car off a road and down an embankment and into some trees.
Ferrell couldn’t find his cellphone to make a call, so he kicked out the rear window of his disabled car and went in search of help. He pounded on the door of a home, but the woman there thought he was a robber and called 911.
Three officers responded to the call, but Kerrick was the only one who fired his gun. Police reports showed Kerrick fired at Ferrell 12 times, hitting him 10 times. Ferrell, who had no criminal record, died at the scene.