Dashcam Video Released In Jonathan Ferrell Case

August 6th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

A panel of jurors reconvened on Wednesday for the voluntary manslaughter trial of a North Carolina police officer to watch dashcam footage of the police-involved shooting that left Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old, unarmed Black man, dead on September 14, 2013. Ferrell had not committed any crimes on the morning he was killed, according to the police report.

It was the first time that the jurors had seen the video, which was released by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) following a judge's order. And though the 26-second clip does not answer all of the questions that the panel had about the case, it does seem to speak to community-wide concerns that have been expressed by Ferrell's family and supporters in the years since the shooting occurred.

What happened on that September morning has been at the center of an ongoing investigation into possible protocol violations committed by former CMPD police officer Randall Kerrick, who fired 12 shots at Ferrell—ten of which landed—killing him. Before the police became involved, Ferrell had been in a car accident; he approached a nearby home and knocked loudly. Sarah McCartney heard the knocking around 2:30 a.m. and called 911.

"McCartney testified that Ferrell was yelling and pacing up and down the sidewalk," VICE News reported. "Thinking he was an intruder, she called the police."

Kerrick and two other CMPD officers arrived on scene shortly thereafter. At a courtroom hearing, Prosecutor Adren Harris said that Ferrell feared losing his life when one officer pulled a Taser and pointed it at him, prompting the man to run between two patrol cars that were parked along the street. The dash cam video does not show the shooting, but it does show Ferrell running as the prosecutor described.

Once Ferrell runs out of view of the camera, Kerrick can be heard shouting, "Get on the ground." Twelves shots are fired. After the last round was discharged, the officer yells, "Don't move."

Though Kerrick maintains that he acted in self-defense, prosecutors say that the shooting occurred without provocation—that it was, in essence, an unjustified killing. They are pushing for a voluntary manslaughter conviction, with this video being the latest piece of evidence offered up to the jury. Kerrick was suspended without pay. The City of Charlotte was ordered to pay Ferrell's family $2.5 million as part of a settlement over their wrongful death lawsuit.