Police officer Randall Kerrick has been indicted by a second grand jury in the September shooting of Jonathan Ferrell, a former FAMU football player who was unarmed and seeking help after a car accident.
A grand jury heard evidence against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer, handing back a charge of voluntary manslaughter.
On Monday, members of the Ferrell family expressed their gratitude that the legal process seemed to be working in the cast.
“With the strength of the evidence in this case, we’re not surprised,” said Charles Monnett, an attorney for Ferrell’s family. “We’re all pleased and happy that the process is beginning now and that there’s an end in sight,” he said. “It is the first step towards justice.”
A grand jury last week had declined to indict Randall Kerrick, but prosecutors said afterward that the jury had less than a full component. The first grand jury requested that the prosecutor submit a “bill of indictment to a lesser-included or related offense,” but the state attorney general resubmitted the voluntary manslaughter charge.
The decision has been attacked by Kerrick’s attorney, who claimed there was nothing improper about the first grand jury decision. Under North Carolina law, a grand jury can be made up of 12 to 18 members.
“We have seen news clips and interviews stating the community should be ‘outraged’ at the return of a No True Bill of Indictment,” a statement from Kerrick’s defense team noted. “Those outraged have simply not heard all of the facts and hasten to a position. The true outrage of this community should be at the Attorney General’s complete disregard of the original findings of our first grand jury.”
Jonathan Ferrell was unarmed when he came to the home of a woman in the early morning hours of September 14 seeking help for his injuries. The woman, alone with her 1-year-old child, called police when Ferrell came to her door.
He was confronted by Randall Kerrick, who shot and killed the 24-year-old.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department almost immediately deemed the shooting unjustified.
“The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” police said in a statement on September 14, the day of the shooting. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
Randall Kerrick remains free on $50,000 bond