North Carolina police shot and killed former Florida A&M University football player Jonathan Ferrell when he sought help after an early morning accident. Officer Randal Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter for the killing of the young man. Officer Kerrick was later released on Sunday with a $50,000 bond and is the focal point of investigations being conducted on the shooting.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police reported that the accident was very bad. “It was a pretty serious accident,” said Police Chief Rodney Monroe. The chief spoke with WSOC reporters who are affiliates of CNN. The car had been crashed and the back window was shattered leaving police to speculate how the driver exited the vehicle.
Jonathan Ferrell was the driver of the vehicle who was shot by Kerrick several times before expiring at the scene of the accident. Preliminary investigations reveal that the shooting was noted by officials as an excessive use of force. “The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive,” said police officials in an issued statement.
Ferrell, 24, was a former player for the Florida A&M football program in Tallahassee, Florida. Upon crashing his car in rural North Carolina, he attempted to get help by knocking on doors of houses close to the wreck site. A resident called 9-1-1 saying a strange man was knocking on doors.
Police termed the call a “breaking and entering” and responded to the scene encountering Ferrell whereby shooting him. Other officers were present on the scene, however Kerrick pulled the trigger, fatally wounding the ex-football player. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter,” said North Carolina law enforcement officials.
Civil rights groups have begun organizing to call for justice for the death of Ferrell by police. News conferences have been scheduled with the intent to notify the public. Ferrell’s mother and brother are scheduled to speak of the incident at various press conferences. The family has retained attorney Chris Chestnut who had represented the family of Robert Champion. Robert Champion was the Florida A&M University student that died in the 2010 hazing scandal.
The homeowner in the secluded area apparently feared Ferrell’s frantic knocks for help and she thereby readily notified police. Responding officers said Ferrell ran at them and, fearing trouble, they responded with deadly force. Ferrell was unarmed and likely suffered from the repercussions of being in a terrible accident during the incident.
The former Florida A&M football player killed by police will be laid to rest in a pending ceremony in the coming week. Activists are outraged over the entire incident and leaders, such as John Barnett of the True Healing Under God Initiative, are demanding answers of why this killing occurred.
By Thomas Barr