Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, shot dead an unarmed man
who was running toward police officers and may have been just
trying to get help after crashing his car, authorities said.
A police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter
for the shooting, and an attorney for the victim's family
said he believed race played a role in the death of Jonathan
Ferrell, 24, who was black.
"If Mr. Farrell was not black or brown, wouldn't they have
asked him a few questions before showering him with bullets?"
said attorney Chris Chestnut, who said he would request all
police evidence from the shooting.
Farrell, seeking help after the accident, knocked on a door
in a predominantly white neighbourhood, Chestnut said.
A woman called the 911 emergency operator after Ferrell began
knocking insistently on her front door about 2:30am on
Saturday (local time), the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police
The woman, who immediately closed the door on Ferrell after
seeing it was not her husband, was likely unaware he had just
crawled out of his wrecked car in nearby woods, police said.
Three police officers arrived, finding Ferrell a short
distance from the woman's house. As soon as the officers got
out of their vehicles, Ferrell started running toward them,
One officer unsuccessfully fired a Taser at Ferrell, and he
kept running. Randall Kerrick, another officer, then shot
Ferrell several times with his service weapon, killing him,
Police found Ferrell's wrecked car later in the morning.
The police department has placed all three officers on
administrative leave while they investigate the shooting.
Detectives charged Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter on
"Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not
have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this
encounter," the police department said in a statement.
Ferrell was a former football player for Florida A&M
University in Tallahassee who had recently moved to Charlotte
with his fiancee to continue his studies at Johnson C. Smith
University, Chestnut said.
Ferrell was on the Florida A&M roster in the 2009 and
2010 seasons, playing safety, the university said in a
Chestnut, based in Atlanta, represents the family of Florida
A&M drum major Robert Champion, who was killed in a
hazing incident in 2011. Twelve former band members have been
charged with manslaughter, and the family is suing the
university for wrongful death.