More shocking details are emerging about the night Jonathan Ferrell was shot by Charlotte police officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick. The unarmed man who had just been in a car wreck was gunned down while crawling on the ground, asking for help, according to new details emerging from Kerrick’s trial. The judge declared a mistrial after the jury deliberated for four days on the voluntary manslaughter charge and remained deadlocked, NBC News reported. This means the voluntary manslaughter charge remains open as prosecutors decide whether to seek another trial against Kerrick.
Here are the facts you need to know.
1. Ferrell Had Been in a Serious Car Wreck When the Officer Shot Him
Kerrick is on trial for voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Ferrell, who was unarmed. Ferrell, a former college football player for Florida A&M University, had been in a serious car wreck in Charlotte, North Carolina, near 3 a.m. in 2013. He knocked on the door of a nearby home to get help. The woman misinterpreted Ferrell’s desperation and thought he was a robber. She called the police and said someone was trying to break into her home. Ferrell, unarmed, was shot 12 times and killed.
2. Officer Kerrick May Not Have Identified Himself When He Came Upon Ferrell
Prosecutors said that when Kerrick arrived on the scene, he and the other officers did not identify themselves to Ferrell, The Daily Beast reported. Adren Harris, a special deputy attorney general prosecuting the case, said Ferrell had no idea what was going on when the officers approached him and trained laser targets from a taser at his chest, The Guardian reported. Fearing for his life, Ferrell took off running. He ran between two cars and up to Kerrick, who was standing with his gun drawn, the Charlotte Observer reported. Kerrick shot at Ferrell and then fell back into a ditch.
3. The Prosecutors Said Ferrell Was Crawling on the Ground, Asking for Help, When He Was Shot Again
After Kerrick shot Ferrell, Ferrell fell to the ground. At this point, prosecutors said that Kerrick fired six more shots at Ferrell. Ferrell began crawling, asking for help and crying out in pain, when Kerrick shot two more times into Ferrell’s body, the prosecutors said, according to The Daily Beast and Daily Kos. Harris said the officers handcuffed Ferrell while he was lying on the ground, shot, and no one attempted to render any first aid. Harris asked the jury:
Who polices the police when they do wrong? You do.
4. The Defense Has Painted a Very Different Story
The defense is painting a very different picture of Ferrell, one that his own family and friends say they don’t recognize and don’t believe. Michael Greene, the defense attorney, said Ferrell was drinking and smoking marijuana before the incident and yelled “shoot me” before charging at the police, The Daily Beast reported. Greene said Ferrell made poor choices in how he presented himself to the police. Greene said:
You didn’t hear ‘Excuse me, officer. I’ve been in an accident…’ (Ferrell) had a choice in the way he presented himself (to the police)…
Prosecutors said that Ferrell was terrified after being in a wreck so serious that he had to kick out the window of his car to get away. The defense said that Ferrell charged Kerrick and that was why Ferrell’s DNA was found on Kerrick’s uniform, from his neck to his feet, and on his gun, The Guardian reported. However, the prosecution said that Ferrell’s DNA was on Kerrick because he fell on the officer right after he was shot four times.
5. The Dashcam Video Footage of That Night Does Not Show the Shooting
The jury was supposed to decide whether Kerrick used excessive force when he shot and killed Ferrell. The two other officers who were present didn’t fire any shots. One of the officer’s dashcam videos was played at trial. Attorneys on both sides said the footage would help their case, the New York Daily News reported. The video that was released to the public (shown above) only showed Farrell running at the officers, but didn’t show the actual shooting.