Twenty-four-year old Jonathan Ferrell, a former football player at FAMU, was shot dead last September as he “ran towards” police officer Randall Kerrick in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ferrell, who was in a car accident, had sought help in the early hours of Saturday by knocking on the door of a nearby house. The occupant of the house, a woman, assumed it was her husband and opened the door, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief Rodney Monroe.
“To her surprise it was a person she did not know or recognize. She immediately closed the door, hit her panic alarm and called 911,” said Monroe.
Police arrived to find a man matching the caller’s description a short distance from the home.
Ferrell then ran towards them, and was hit by a taser fired by another officer, Thornell Little, according to the statement.
Ferrell continued to approach officers after Little had fired his weapon, police added. It was then that Kerrick opened fire, shooting multiple times.
Ferrell was pronounced dead at the scene. Kerrick, 27, was charged with voluntary manslaughter after an investigation found his actions were “excessive”.
Yesterday, a grand jury declined to indict Kerrick, stating that there wasn’t enough evidence for voluntary manslaughter and asked the state attorney general’s to refile the case with lesser charges.
“We the Grand Jury respectfully request that the district attorney submit a bill of indictiment to a lesser-included or related offense,” the court papers stated.
The Mecklenburg County Grand Jury is made up of 18 jurors. Court officials say on Tuesday, 14 members of the jury were in the session. North Carolina law says at least 12-members of the grand jury must agree with a decision for it to pass.
“Family is disappointed, shocked, devastated,” an attorney who represents Ferrell’s family said. “They were looking forward to today as being a day justice can finally start to be delivered to them. Today was a major disappointment.”
The head of the Charlotte NAACP also expressed disappointment.
“This is one of the most despicable decisions I have ever seen made by human beings,” said Charlotte NAACP President Kojo Natambu.
After the Grand Jury’s announcement was made, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office issued a statement.
“Today, our prosecutors learned that the grand jury that considered the indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter was less than a full panel,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.