Attorney general taking police shooting case to grand jury

mgordon@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 13, 2014 

Charlotte Police-Shooting Death

Jonathan Ferrell

AP

  • Statement from the Attorney General’s Office

    At the request of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney, Special Prosecutors in Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Office agreed to handle the case of the shooting death of Jonathon Ferrell by Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Randall Kerrick.

    Following an investigation by the SBI and a legal review by the Attorney General’s Office of both that investigation and the investigation conducted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, we have decided to take the case before the Mecklenburg County Grand Jury to seek an indictment on the charge of voluntary manslaughter.

    The Attorney General’s prosecutors will present their evidence to the Grand Jury on Tuesday, Jan. 21. If the Grand Jury returns a true bill of indictment, we will move forward to prosecute the charge in the Sept. 14 shooting death of Mr. Ferrell.

    The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section is available to all District Attorneys in the state when there is a conflict of interest or when there are other issues that prevent a District Attorney from handling a case.

The manslaughter charges against a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer stemming from the September shooting death of an unarmed man will go before a grand jury on Jan. 21.

The N.C. Attorney General’s Office announced Monday that it will seek an indictment against suspended officer Randall Kerrick. He was charged with the Sept. 14 shooting death of Jonathon Ferrell, a former college football player and recent Charlotte transplant.

According to a prepared statement, state prosecutors say they reached their decision after reviewing the investigations of the shooting by the State Bureau of Investigation and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

George Laughrun, Kerrick’s attorney, called the announcement “just one step in the legal process. It’s not anything we were surprised about.”

It does mean that Kerrick’s preliminary court hearing, twice delayed and most recently scheduled for Feb. 11, will not take place.

Ferrell’s death drew national headlines. The former Florida A&M football player had moved to Charlotte a few months before his death to be closer to his fiancee. He drove to a northeast Charlotte neighborhood Sept. 14 to give a co-worker a ride home.

But Ferrell wrecked his car on his way out of the subdivision. A woman in a nearby home called 911 to say an unknown man was trying to knock down her front door.

Police say Kerrick, one of three officers to respond, fired 12 shots at Ferrell during the resulting confrontation. Ferrell approached officers, police said, and refused orders to stop and get on the ground.

Kerrick opened fire, hitting Ferrell 10 times. He was arrested the next day, the first Charlotte officer charged in connection with an on-duty shooting in at least 30 years. Laughrun has called Ferrell’s death tragic but justified.

The Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Section, headed by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jim Coman, took over the case at the request of Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray, who is a former law partner of Kerrick’s attorneys, Laughrun and Michael Greene.

Ferrell’s family is expected to file a civil lawsuit Tuesday against Kerrick, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Police Chief Rodney Monroe and the City of Charlotte.

Gordon: 704-358-5095

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