Sep 17, 2013 04:29 PM EDT
Charlotte Cop Randall Kerrick 'Justified' in Shooting Unarmed Former Florida A&M University Football Player?
Lawyers representing Charlotte Police Officer Randall Kerrick said their client's shooting of Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player, was justified, the Associated Press reported.
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Not taking any questions following Kerrick's first court appearance Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Greene said the officer's "actions were justified on the night in question."
According to authorities, Kerrick shot Ferrell ten times early Saturday after the 24-year-old was in a severe one-car wreck. Ferrell apparently advanced on the officers and did not stop after they attempted to use a Taser on him. This prompted Kerrick to fire; Ferrell was pronounced dead on the scene.
CNN reported Ferrell was likely just running towards the officers because he needed help after a seemingly disastrous car wreck early Saturday morning.
"It was a pretty serious accident," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe told CNN affiliate WSOC.
Authorities believe Ferrell had to kick out the car's back window to exit the vehicle. He then approached one of the nearest houses and banged on the door seeking help. A woman answered thinking it could be her husband coming home late from work. Upon seeing Ferrell, she shut the door on him and called 911 as he continued to try and get her attention.
When police arrived, responding to the "breaking and entering" report, Ferrell approached them hurriedly, prompting them to use a Taser on him. The responding officers described Ferrell's actions as "running" and "charging," but Kerrick was still charged with a felony voluntary manslaughter.
Kerrick, the only of three responding officers to use a gun, turned himself in Saturday and was released on $50,000 bond.
"The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive," police said in a statement issued late Saturday night. "Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."
All three officers were placed on paid leave.
Chris Chestnut, an attorney for the Ferrell family, said Kerrick failed to identify himself as a police officer before firing, the AP reported. Lance LoRusso, an attorney and former police officer said it was strange for a policeman to be charged so quickly, noting a certain protocol usually must first take place.
"There are a couple of reasons why police take their time. First of all it takes time to develop things like the toxicology report to determine what happened," he said. "You have to wait until daylight to reconstruct the crime scene. You have to interview all the people involved. And the officer is given the opportunity to decompress before making a statement."
Ferrell's mother Georgia said she forgave the Kerrick, but still believes he should no longer serve as an officer of the law.
"I truly forgive him," she said. "I pray for him. And I pray that he gets off the police force."