A mistrial has been declared in the case of the White North Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man in September 2013.
North Carolina Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin announced the mistrial Friday afternoon after jurors failed to reach a verdict, CNN writes. The jury — comprised of seven White jurors, three African-American jurors, and two Hispanic jurors — deliberated Officer Randall Kerrick’s fate for four days. The trial began Aug. 3.
Kerrick shot Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, on the night of September 14, 2013. Ferrell was searching for help after a car accident that was so severe, family attorney Chris Chestnut said, that the 24-year-old had to “crawl out the back of the window,” CNN reports. Ferrell walked to a nearby residence to get help, but the woman inside — identified as Sarah McCartney — called the police when she saw the man knocking on her door.
“There’s a guy breaking in my front door,” McCartney told a 911 dispatcher. “He’s trying to kick it down.”
When police arrived, Ferrell walked towards them, a sight of relief for the injured ex-football player, Chestnut said. But when he saw lights on his chest, Ferrell ran in fear for his life, prosecutors argued. Kerrick maintained, however, that Ferrell ran towards him and he feared for his life.
Kerrick shot him 10 times. Ferrell was unarmed.
In a lawsuit that the city of Charlotte reportedly settled this year for $2.25 million, Ferrell’s family alleges that Kerrick used “stealth and surprise” in approaching Ferrell and “negligently failed to realize that, because of the dim lighting in the area, Jonathan would be startled, frightened and unable to see his approach and commands.”
Kerrick’s defense attorney Michael Greene said Ferrell did not request help when he banged on and kicked McCartney’s door, and when McCartney’s house alarm went off, Ferrell said, “Turn off the alarm! Turn it off,” according to CNN affiliate WSOC-TV.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t about race. It never was. It’s about choices,” Greene said, according to the station. Felony voluntary manslaughter involves someone either using excessive force in self-defense or shooting without the intent to kill.
If the trial ended in a conviction, Kerrick could have faced 11 years in prison.
SOURCE: CNN | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN