Trial Begins for Cop Who Shot Jonathan Ferrell

NC officer not indicted in death of FAMU football player Jonathan Ferrell.
AP Photo

Almost two years after a White Charlotte police officer fatally wounded an unarmed Black man as he sought help after a car wreck, jury selection for the trial will now begin.

Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, 29, shot and killed 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell on Sept. 14, 2013. The former college football player had knocked on the door of a residential home that was close to the scene of his accident. A woman inside called 911, fearing he was trying to break in.

Three officers responded, one of them being Officer Kerrick. Details are sketchy, but what we do know is that Officer Kerrick shot at Ferrell 12 times, striking him 10 of those times.

Defense attorneys say Ferrell ignored repeated police orders and charged at Kerrick. They describe the shooting as “tragic but justified,” according to the Charlotte Observer. 

But the attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, tell a different story.

The office says the officers did not identify themselves or give Ferrell any orders before one fired a Taser at him and missed. Fearing for his life, Ferrell ran away from the Taser but into Kerrick.

The trial comes at a time of national debate on police use of force, particularly against Blacks.

Kerrick is facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony that carries a prison term ranging from 3 to 11 years if convicted.