Local

New protests to mark anniversary of Million Man March

dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

A group of Charlotte-area organizers hopes to use the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March to bring more attention to the case of Randall Kerrick, a police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man in 2013.

Black men from across the country converged on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in October of 1995, to confront social and economic issues affecting the their communities.

This weekend’s anniversary, also in Washington, is slated to include a more diverse, cross-section of America — people of different races and the children of people who attended the original march – who have protested the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police officers.

The march also will highlight changes that need to occur. A leading issue: the police’s use of deadly force against minorities.

“Everyone from different corners of the United States will be bringing their justice issues to D.C.,” said Jibril Hough, a spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Charlotte and a local organizer.

“And Jonathan Ferrell is our issue. And we’ve recently been hit in the face with the City Council deciding to give Randall Kerrick back pay. So not only is he getting away with murder, he’s getting paid for it.”

In August, a Mecklenburg jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case of Kerrick, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the Sept. 13 killing of Jonathan Ferrell. Ferrell was black and Kerrick is white and the killing sparked racial tensions.

A week after the trial ended in a hung jury, the N.C. Attorney General’s Office said it would not re-prosecute the case.

Local organizers hope the U.S. Department of Justice will consider taking legal action against Kerrick or the Police Department. The city of Charlotte has settled with Ferrell’s family for $2.25 million.

And sources have told the Observer the city is considering paying back pay to Kerrick, who has been suspended without pay since the shooting.

Organizers are renting buses that will leave from the Charlotte-area Wal-marts to attend the anniversary. Details: http://bit.ly/1OgpZ1c

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson

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