Lawyers for the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man in northeast Mecklenburg said on Wednesday that Jonathan Ferrell did not comply with officers commands to get down before he was killed.
(Ferrell) advanced toward the officers. His hands were not in the air, said George Laughrun, attorney for Officer Randall Kerrick, speaking to reporters about what he saw in footage from a police cruisers dashboard camera.
You see one of his hands partially behind his back, concealed as he continued to advance. He was given three commands to Get on the ground. Get on the ground. He did not. And Officer Kerrick backed up and then felt the need to deploy his service weapon.
Laughruns description of the police video differs from what Ferrells family attorney had previously said that police fired before yelling Get down!
Kerrick, 27, and in his third year with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, was charged with voluntary manslaughter after the early Saturday shooting, which has sparked outrage and gained national attention.
Police say Kerrick fired his gun 12 times, striking Ferrell 10 times.
On Tuesday, attorney Chris Chestnut said he and the Ferrell family viewed the dashcam footage and that it showed shots were fired before any warnings or commands were given.
There were no commands to Stop, freeze, stop or Ill shoot, Chestnut told the Observer Tuesday. The first commands from officers, Chestnut said, came after the volley of bullets stopped.
But on Wednesday, Chestnut said he could not definitively say that officers didnt issue commands before shots were fired because he was only allowed to view the video once.
I honestly cannot tell you whether it was Pow pow! Get down! or Get down! Pow pow! he said.
Chestnut said any commands were issued so close to Ferrells shooting that there was no time for him to react.
The Observer shared Chestnuts account with police Tuesday, but the department didnt respond at the time and declined to comment to reporters on Wednesday.
The department has denied the Observers request for the dashcam video, saying the footage is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Police Chief Rodney Monroe told the Observers editorial board on Tuesday that it didnt matter whether Ferrell complied with officers commands or had his hands up.
It was clear that Ferrell was unarmed, Monroe said, and Kerricks decision to shoot was unlawful.
Sometimes we have to put up our hands and use our nightstick and other things and sometimes just retreat to handle the situation, Monroe told the editorial board. It cant automatically result in use of deadly force.
Even if Ferrell a 24-year-old former Florida A&M University football player was physically larger than Kerrick, that didnt justify shooting him, Monroe said. We have women on the force outweighed every day. That doesnt give them instant justification to use deadly force.
In the comments to the editorial board, Monroe said an officer told Ferrell to stop before he was shot and killed, and that a Taser fired by a second officer missed Ferrell.
Monroe also told the editorial board that the first shots were fired from a distance of a couple of feet, and there was physical contact between Kerrick and Ferrell after the first shots had been fired.
The contact happened after the first shots were fired, Monroe said. He said police are still reviewing the evidence to determine if it was actually an assault, or actually a man dying.
The shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Ferrell had crashed a Toyota Camry in the Bradfield Farms neighborhood in northeast Mecklenburg, police said. His familys attorney says he looked for help at a home about one-quarter mile away.
A woman who answered the door thought he was a robber and dialed 911.
Kerrick responded with two other officers, Thornell Little and Adam Neal.
Kerrick, a former animal control officer who lives in Midland, was the least experienced of the three.
Portillo: 704-358-5041; Twitter: @ESPortillo Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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