WND, January 26, 2014
A racially charged shooting incident in North Carolina with eerie parallels to the Trayvon Martin drama has ended in the same way–with a jury refusing to hand state authorities the politically pressured charges they sought against the shooter.
In a decision angering the NAACP and other civil-rights activists clamoring for “justice,” a Charlotte grand jury has declined to indict Charlotte Police Officer Randall Kerrick for voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a 24-year-old black man who refused to obey orders to stop after police responded to a robbery call.
Jurors thought the evidence presented against the white officer did not support the manslaughter charge. As WND first reported in October, evidence showed authorities overcharged the shooter, who claimed self defense. Kerrick faced a prison sentence of up to 11 years.
Still, state authorities plan to resubmit the charge to a new panel of grand jurors scheduled to meet on Monday. The NAACP plans to protest outside the Charlotte courthouse during their deliberations.
During a local black church rally Thursday night, about 150 civil-rights activists organized by THUG–True Healing Under God–threatened to boycott the city if jurors fail to indict Kerrick for a second time.
Charlotte NAACP President Kojo Nantambu called the jury decision “despicable,” asserting, “Something is wrong with the system that we live in . . . something is wrong in this country.”
Rally organizer John Barnett, founder of THUG, said Ferrell would be alive if he were white like Kerrick.
“I’m trying to figure out: What does 14 jurors and one attorney general don’t see that people in Africa see?” Barnett asked. “That all of us see. What do they not see?”
Kerrick was charged in connection with the Sept. 14 shooting death of Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player who dashcam video shows violently charged Kerrick and other police officers.
Kerrick repeatedly fired at Ferrell with his gun after a Taser failed to stop him and after Ferrell failed to show his hands. Though Ferrell was found later to be unarmed, Kerrick and others who viewed the video insist the use of deadly force was justified.
As WND reported, the video shows Kerrick first opened fire after Ferrell–who was much larger than Kerrick–charged him while ignoring commands and concealing his hands. Kerrick fired more rounds after Ferrell continued to move forward to the point where he made physical contact with the officer.
Ferrell may have been under the influence of controlled substances.
Witnesses reported to investigators that they saw Ferrell, who had dropped out of college, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in the hours before he crashed his car at an entrance to a suburban Charlotte neighborhood that Saturday at 2:30 a.m.
The police chief, who is African-American, still has not released the results of the toxicology report.
At least one resident of the neighborhood reported Ferrell acting violently several minutes before the confrontation with police.
A 9-1-1 tape reveals a frantic call from homeowner Sarah McCartney, who was home alone with her 1-year-old son while her husband was traveling. Through tears, she reported Ferrell trying to kick in her front door in what she thought was an attempted robbery. Banging and yelling can be heard in the background.
“I need help!” McCartney can be heard pleading with the operator. “There’s a guy breaking into my front door, he’s trying to kick it down!”
The 9-1-1 tape refutes the initial narrative told by the NAACP and the media, who claimed an injured and stranded Ferrell rang McCartney’s doorbell seeking help only to have McCartney slam the door shut after seeing a black man.
A number of black activists posted McCartney’s home address along with photos of her home on social media. As a result, a number of vehicles have driven by her house harassing her family. They have had to hire security for protection.
Experts say they’ve never seen a police officer charged so swiftly in a shooting. Normally investigations into police shootings take weeks, if not months.
Yet Kerrick was thrown in jail within hours, bypassing the usual lengthy interviews by internal affairs. Authorities said they wanted to avoid any “ambiguity” as outrage in the black community grew and the NAACP and other groups threatened protests.
The NAACP wants the charges against Kerrick elevated to murder. Anger in the community may grow if charges are dropped completely.
In fact, footage from a dashboard-mounted police camera shows officers commanded Ferrell at least three times to stop before Kerrick fired, but Ferrell continued to advance in a threatening manner toward them. Another Charlotte police officer, Thornell Little, fired a Taser at Ferrell before Kerrick resorted to using his firearm.
The NAACP, however, insists it was an “execution” of a black man in “cold blood.”
“There is no evidence that shows Jonathan Ferrell should have been shot at all, but for officer Kerrick to shoot 12 times and striking Mr. Ferrell 10 times indicates more than a reflex, it smells more of hatred and rage, which shows that Mr. Kerrick was predisposed in killing a black man and did so with extreme prejudice,” the NAACP’s Nantambu insisted.