A North Carolina grand jury indicted Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell, just days after a partial grand jury refused to do so, reports WXII12.
The indictment came down Monday afternoon, just hours after a judge ruled that Attorney General Roy Cooper could resubmit the case.
Kerrick’s lawyers filed a motion to stop prosecutors, reports WXII12, but Judge Robert Bell refused.
As previously reported by NewsOne, a partial grand jury in North Carolina decided not to indict Kerrick, 27, for the September 14, 2013 shooting death of Ferrell, 24.
Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player who had recently moved to North Carolina to be with his fiancee, was in a serious car crash and after kicking out his back window, walked to a nearby cluster of homes and knocked on the first door for help.
A woman answered the door thinking it was her husband and immediately slammed it in Ferrell’s face before calling 911.
On the 911 tape released by the city, the woman can be heard sobbing to the dispatcher, begging them to hurry and telling them that her baby was in the house with her.
“He’s in his bed. I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe I opened the door…Please don’t let him get my baby,” she cried.
Kerrick was one of the responding officers and as they approached, Ferrell ran towards them for help. One of the officers allegedly tried to stop him with a Taser, but Ferrell continued to approach. That is when Kerrick shot him 12 times, 10 of the bullets piercing his body.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said that even if Ferrell didn’t stop running toward Kerrick, deadly force wasn’t justified.
Ferrell was unarmed, and both Monroe and Ferrell family attorney Chris Chestnut, who watched the dashboard video of the shooting, said that was clear. Chestnut said Ferrell had his hands outstretched, and they were empty.
“I can tell you this is what I saw: Absolutely, unequivocally, there were no words said, period, from any of the officers prior to Jonathan being hit with a stun gun, Chestnut said.
“He’s not yelling at them. He’s not threatening them,” he said.
At one point, an officer yelled “get on the ground,” but it was hard to tell if it was right before or right after the first shot was fired, he said.
“But I can tell you that those shots were in such close proximity that Jonathan never had an opportunity to reply. He had bullets in him before he could ever hit the ground. So there was not sufficient warning. No one ever told him to stop. He didn’t have time to react,” he said.
The results of Ferrell‘s toxicology report prove that he was not under the influence of alcohol or any drugs when he was gunned down by Kerrick.
After deliberating for eight hours, the partial grand jury declined to indict Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter charges and asked for the prosecution to submit a lesser charge for consideration.
Attorney General Cooper released the following statement:
“Today, our prosecutors learned that the grand jury that considered the indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter was less than 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,” Cooper said.
An attorney for Ferrell’s family called the jury’s decision “suffocating”:
“How do you describe that to a mom? This man emptied a clip into her son and now I have to tell her there’s no indictment. If the jury had seen that dash cam video not only would there have been an indictment for manslaughter, but likely for a greater charge.”
But there may be justice after all.
The voluntary manslaughter charge carries a prison sentence of up to 11 years.
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