Thursday, August 13, 2015

Officer Randall Kerrick: Innocent of Killing Jonathan Ferrell?

Jonathan Ferrell while at A&M University
Jonathan Ferrell while at A&M University

On September 14, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina a former Florida A&M University football player, 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, had met with a group of friends and co-workers at a restaurant. At some point at the end of the night (after dropping one of his friends off at home), the car he was driving slid off the road and crashed into an embankment along a woody stretch of Reedy Creek Road.

Toxicology reports would later show that Ferrell had alcohol in his system, but that his blood-level was below the legal limit for driving (according to NBC News).

It had been his fiancée's car; and after the accident Ferrell had pounded on a nearby door at around 2:30 a.m. (supposedly to ask for help). When the woman inside called 911 to report what she thought was an attempted break-in, officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department was one of three officers who responded to the call.

The way MSNBC reported the incident:

He [Jonathan Ferrell] found himself a half-mile from the crash site and on the doorstep of Sarah McCartney, a wife and mother of 1-year-old baby who was home alone. McCartney rushed to the front door, thinking something bad might have happened to her husband. She opened the door, took one look at Ferrell and slammed the door shut. McCartney called 911, and through tears told a dispatcher that a man was trying to break in and rob her and that she couldn’t find any of her husband’s guns. “Oh my God,” McCartney can be heard pleading on a recording of the 911 call made the night of the shooting. “He’s in the front yard yelling.”

NBC reported it like this:

Ferrell had dropped off a coworker and was driving home at about 2 a.m. when he veered off the road and crashed his car so badly that he had to kick out the rear window to escape. The lawsuit says he walked a half-mile up a hill, toward the nearest houses, to seek help, and knocked on a door. The woman inside, alone in the home with an infant, answered the door, thinking it was her husband coming home late from work. She saw Ferrell, quickly shut the door, called 911 and frantically reported, “There’s a guy breaking in my front door.”

Either way, just imagine the scenario...late at night, a woman home alone (with a baby), afraid, surprised, a house in an isolated area. She knew that at that time of day, it wouldn't be a Girl Scout knocking on her door to sell her chocolate-mint cookies.

A woman alone, late at night, afraid, with a baby, in an isolated house.

The officers who responded to the 911 call later spotted Ferrell walking down the street.

The police video below from Officer Adam Neal's cruiser shows two patrol cars approaching an already parked third unit. Ferrell is seen walking towards the cars, approaching the officers before running between and past the cars — and the view of the dashcam.

Prosecutors say that after first walking up towards the police, Ferrell then suddenly bolted toward officer Kerrick after one of the other officers aimed his Taser at him. Ferrell had ran directly at Kerrick, who had then pulled his pistol. "Get on the ground" is yelled three times before multiple gun shots erupt. Ferrell was shot 10 times.

This was followed by an officer saying, "Shots fired, shots fired!" — and another is yelling, "Don't move, don't move!" Below is the police car dashcam video showing what led to the shooting.

The animation below is from one quick segment from the video above that shows officer Randall Kerrick stepping forward, then quickly retreating — as though attempting to get away from the charging Jonathan Ferrell.

Why would Jonathan Ferrell charge at officer Randall Kerrick?
Officer Randall Kerrick fleeing from Jonathan Ferrell

Officer Kerrick had told detectives investigating the case that he pulled his pistol to offer cover for fellow officer Thornell Little, who had drawn his Taser. He said he opened fire when Ferrell was about 10 feet away because Ferrell ignored orders to stop, and Kerrick was afraid the bigger man (who used to play college football) would take his gun and possibly kill him and his fellow officers.

Officer Kerrick had said he never saw a weapon in Ferrell’s hands; but just because someone doesn't have a gun or a knife doesn't mean they can't (or won't) kill you. But regardless, Kerrick was later charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of the "unarmed" Jonathan Ferrell. (Police officers are a lot like combat soldiers — they have their brother's back first before regarding their own life.)

The officers who responded to the call had only known about a 911 call at 2:30 in the morning that someone was attempting to break into a woman's home. If there was no wrong-doing and the "unarmed" Jonathan Ferrell needed assistance, why did he charge officer Kerrick? And what "help" or "assistance" was Jonathan Ferrell looking for? Was he in need of medical attention, a cab home, or did he just need the car towed?

Earlier this year the city of Charlotte settled a $2.5 million wrongful death civil lawsuit with the family of Jonathan Ferrell. Christopher Chestnut, one of the family’s attorneys, had called Ferrell’s killing a “grisly murder” by a rogue and improperly trained officer who should never have been given the public’s trust, let alone a gun and a badge.

The suit also alleges (and this is really fu*king absurd) that officer Kerrick did not properly identify himself to Ferrell as a police officer (and I suppose three police cars, the uniforms, the badges and the drawn weapons weren't enough of a clue?)

NBC reports it a little differently:

During the confrontation, the suit says, Ferrell never behaved in a way [like charging at a police officer] that met the Charlotte police standard of “aggravated active aggression” required to justify the use of force. The suit accuses the officer of a series of mistakes before he fired. Those missteps include failing to identify himself to Ferrell, approaching “using stealth and surprise” with his gun drawn and failing to see that Ferrell was “in the process of complying with his commands.”

All I can say is, "Fu*king wow!" But that's not the point of this post. The point is, with all that's going on with police shootings and #BlackLivesMatter, why was Nancy Grace on HLN tonight calling this an unwarranted and unjustified shooting of an innocent and unarmed black man by a police officer? The trial is still going on! (I'm not sure why there was a civil trial before a criminal trial.) Was HLN and Nancy Grace just stirring up the pot for more racial tensions — for more advertising fees and better audience ratings? This was totally irresponsible.

The video below is the way Nancy Grace had presented her version of events. She makes the issue that, just because a laser targeting light is spotted on Jonathan Ferrell's shirt, that for some reason (somehow, someway) this was police "provocation" and it gave Jonathan Ferrell every legitimate reason for charging at officer Randall Kerrick; and that the officer had no good reason to feel threatened by harm and had no good cause to shoot at Ferrell.

Commentary: If a person (much larger than me) who was suspected of a home invasion (even though he's unarmed) charged at me at 2:30 a.m. (after already seeing I have a gun in my hand), and didn't stop, I'd shoot the bastard too. I would have thought he was hopped up on PCP and fu*king crazy. After all, how could anyone know if they were just plain stupid, mentally challenged, high on drugs or was an insane homicidal manic?

What would Her Highness do? Would Nancy Grace have just stood there, frozen like a deer in headlights, and just passively waited to see what the man charging her would do to her? Even if other lives depended on her — say her grandchildren's? 

While some people may not deserve to die (even idiots), some people are just so damn stupid that they can help but deliberately put themselves in the most dangerous situations possible (or just wants to die by suicide by cop). Then the family later blames everyone else but their own family member. The city shouldn't have settled with Jonathan Ferrell's family; and officer Randall Kerrick should NOT have been put on trial (unless I see or hear of evidence to the contrary.) See the updates here: Kerrick Trial - Day 17 - August 12, 2015

More details in the links below:
Much more info if you do a Google search. I only first heard of this case tonight, so this was a quick post.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE:

    Prosecutors will not seek a retrial after a judge declared a mistrial when the jury could not reach a verdict. He never should have went on trial to begin with.

    Dis-Integrating America (The media coverage and the political divide over the issue of "unarmed black men" vs. white cops.)