Houston Forward Times

02 October 2013 Written by  Frederick H. Lowe

N.C. Attorney General to Probe Police Killing of Unarmed Jonathan Ferrell

kerrick ferrellRoy Cooper, the North Carolina Attorney General, will investigate the shooting death by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer of Jonathan A. Ferrell, a 24 year-old black man, who was seeking help following a car accident.

Cooper said he took over the investigation at the request of R. Andrew Murray, Mecklenburg District Attorney.  "Special prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office have agreed to handle the case of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department officer Randall Kerrick," Cooper said.

Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell, wounding him 10 times as Ferrell ran towards Kerrick and two other officers seeking help following a one-car accident.  Ferrell, who was unarmed and did not have a criminal record, died at the scene. The deadly shooting occurred at 2:36 am on Saturday, September 14.

Ferrell’s car hit several trees and rolled down an embankment. Ferrell kicked out the car’s rear window to escape, police said.

The former Florida A&M football player ran to a nearby house and pounded on the door, seeking help, but the woman, Sarah McCarthy, called the police. She stated that Ferrell was trying to kick in the door.

When Kerrick and officers Thornell Little and Adam Neal arrived at the home, they saw Ferrell, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. One of the officers fired a Taser Gun. Kerrick drew his gun and shot Ferrell dead. Charlotte-Mecklenburg is in Charlotte, N.C.

"The investigation showed that the initial encounter of Mr. Ferrell and Officer Kerrick was appropriate and lawful," police said. "The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive. Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."

Prosecutors charged Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter, according to police.

Cooper said "The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section is available to all district attorneys in the state when there is a conflict or when there are other issues that prevent a district attorney from handling the case."

Before being elected district attorney for Mecklenburg County, Murray was a partner in the Charlotte, N.C., law firm of Goodman, Carr, Laughrun, Levine, Murray & Greene.

George Laughrun and Michael Greene, two of the firm’s partners, are representing Kerrick.