Over the weekend, Charlotte police shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell — an unarmed man who, they later learned, was seeking help after a car crash.
The horribly tragic shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, 24, was initially called “appropriate and lawful” by police in North Carolina, but a subsequent investigation into the young man’s demise led the department to conclude that Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, used force that could be deemed “excessive.”
In the aftermath, Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter, and a statement late Saturday indicated that the young officer “did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
Ferrell initially was involved in a car accident, from which he was able to walk away. After the crash, he knocked on a door to plead with residents for help, and a woman phoned 911 to report a man pounding on the door.
When cops arrived, the New York Times reports that things quickly escalated:
“Officers responding to the call found Mr. Ferrell, who was unarmed, a short distance from the home, the police said. As they approached him, Mr. Ferrell ran toward the officers, who tried to stop him with a Taser. As Mr. Ferrell continued to move toward the officers, Officer Randall Kerrick fired his gun, hitting Mr. Ferrell several times. He died at the scene.”
One civil rights group is also seeking answers in the death of Jonathan Ferrell. John Barnett of Healing Under God Initiative told the AJC that the case has caused his phone to ring, and that Americans of all walks of life were troubled by the incident:
“I’ve gotten calls from whites, blacks, Hispanic people are concerned… So now we have this innocent person looking for help, running to the police like a child would run to his mother, and unfortunately he’s not here with us.”
Jonathan Ferrell’s FAMU teammate Greg Boler told the paper that the slain man was just a “good person, very humble.”