North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick was indicted last year for shooting and killing an unarmed black man. Florida A&M University football player Jonathan Ferrell was looking for help after getting in a car crash when Kerrick opened fire, shooting him 10 times. This week, a video from a police car dash cam was released to the public, showing the moments leading up to Ferrell's death.
According to NBC News, the new footage was released in court on Wednesday, depicting two police cars approaching Jonathan Ferrell and his stationary vehicle. Ferrell can be seen walking slowly toward the cars before suddenly taking off running between them. An officer can be heard shouting "Get on the ground!" several times before the gunshots sound off. You can't see Jonathan Ferrell taking the bullets on camera, but the footage catches the audio of his death.
Minutes before the dash cam footage, Jonathan Ferrell had approached a nearby house seeking help after a car crash. However, the resident called 911 on him, mistaking his plea for help as an attempted break-in. It's possible that this put officers Randall Kerrick and Adam Neal on the defensive when they arrived at the scene, assuming the helpless and injured Jonathan Ferrell was armed and dangerous.
Kerrick is now on trial for the death of Jonathan Ferrell, and the dashboard camera footage will make it a difficult case to defend. But, according to the Huffington Post, the defense is sticking to the position that Jonathan Ferrell was coming at the officers "hard and fast." They also claim he powered through a Taser shot or dodged it. Officer Neal testified that Jonathan Ferrell may have been on bath salts or mushrooms.
Despite his efforts to defend his fellow officer, Randall Kerrick, Adam Neal admitted he never drew his own weapon and never would have considered it. Instead, he would have resorted to a sleeper hold.
Defense Attorney Michael Greene claims Jonathan Ferrell attacked Kerrick, forcing him to act in self-defense, a claim that can't be explicitly disproven by the video shown in the courtroom.
The prosecution claims that Randall Kerrick's choice to discharge his firearm 12 times was a needless overreaction. Also, the officers failed to identify themselves to Jonathan Ferrell, which the dash cam footage proves.
If convicted, Kerrick could spend up to 11 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.
Do you think Randall Kerrick should be punished for the death of Jonathan Ferrell?
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