Grand Jury Declines to Indict Officer Who Killed Former FAMU Football Player Jonathan Ferrell
On Tuesday, a North Carolina grand jury declined to indict a Charlotte police officer who killed an unarmed former college athlete as he was seeking help from police last September.
Prosecutors charged Officer Randall Kerrick, a 28-year-old three year veteran, with voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell 10 times after he got into a car crash and was walking toward police in need of assistance.
Mecklenburg County grand jurors wrote a handwritten note explaining there wasn't enough evidence to indict Kerrick and asked the state attorney general's office to refile the case with lesser charges, reports NBC News.
However, prosecutors promised to resubmit the case after they learned that some of the grand jurors were absent during the decision. It is unknown whether they will stick to the original voluntary manslaughter charge or seek lesser charges. There was also no explanation for why the grand jury voted with fewer than 18 members, 12 of whom must agree.
George Laughrun, Kerrick's attorney, said that Kerrick "feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders," according to The Charlotte Observer. "He's extremely relieved that the grand jury members saw fit to keep an open mind and not listen to all the propaganda on all the things he did wrong," Laughrun said.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department had supported the charge that Kerrick's actions were "excessive."
Ferrell's family and attorney are now investigating to see if the grand jury saw the dashcam video from the day of the shooting and jury was given copies of the autopsy report as evidence.
Last week, the family of Ferrell, who played on the Florida A&M University football team as a safety in 2009 and 2010, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit. Their suit argues that the autopsy results revealed a downward trajectory by most of the 10 bullets which suggests that Ferrell was on his knees or already on the ground when Kerrick fired.