A police officer will be tried for the fatal shooting of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell in North Carolina in 2013. Jury selection for the case is scheduled to start on Monday. This shooting death by a police officer is one of many which have spurred a national debate and numerous protests about police brutality and excessive use of force during the last couple of years.
The incident happened during the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2013. A 24-year-old black man, who used to play football for Florida A&M, got into a car accident and went to look for help. The young man was in a residential subdivision not far from Charlotte, North Carolina, when a local resident called police to report that a stranger had been knocking on her door late at night. She told police that she was afraid her home was about to be invaded.
Officer Fired His Weapon 12 Times
Three police officers arrived on scene. Farrell approached them and officer Randall Kerrick discharged his weapon 12 times, fatally killing the young man. The other two officers, who had more police experience than Kerrick and were black, left their guns in their holsters during the entire incident.
Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter after the shooting. The supervisor said that the 29-year-old officer had employed excessive force and that he deserved to be arrested and charged. A grand jury indicted the officer for manslaughter in January 2014.
Defense attorneys for Kerrick claim that Ferrell did not obey their orders not to approach. Allegedly, the officers told him not to approach and to lie down on the ground, but he walked toward them, anyway.
Deceased Man's Family Received a $2.25 Million Settlement
The city of Charlotte paid out $2.25 million to the young man's family as restitution for his death last May. While it is good to know that the family received compensation for their loss and that the offending officer will be tried for his crimes, it does nothing to correct the exceedingly unfortunate nature of this tragedy. The reality of excessive police violence and police brutality is very real. Individuals must always use extreme caution to follow police instructions and police must be careful not to apply too much force while doing their jobs.
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