The minutes of a closed session of the Charlotte City Council provide new details behind the council’s decision to reach an out-of-court settlement with former Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Office Randal “Wes” Kerrick.
The city announced it had reached a settlement with Kerrick in early October, more than a month after a jury deadlocked on whether to convict him in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell.
Ferrell, a black man, was unarmed when he was shot 10 times by Kerrick in September 2013 while officers responded to a reported breaking-and-entering call.
After the incident, then-CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe decided to charge Kerrick in Ferrell’s death. He was later indicted by a grand jury.
The heavily publicized trial spanned weeks but ended in a deadlocked jury, with eight jurors voting to acquit Kerrick and four voting to convict him.
After the trial, attorneys for Kerrick wrote a letter to CMPD Chief Kerr Putney asking for their client to be reinstated as a police officer and given back pay.
In the letter, attorneys George Laughrun and Michael Greene say Monroe violated department policy in handling an internal affairs investigation into the shooting.
“It is our understanding that former Chief Rodney Monroe put the Internal Affairs investigation on hold pending the criminal matter,” the attorneys wrote. “This is contrary to Section 200-001 of the CMPD Directives which mandates, ‘that all complaints should be fully investigated within a 45 day period of time.’ ”
The attorneys go on to say that Monroe violated the policy by not notifying Kerrick or his attorneys of the delay in the internal affairs investigation, which they say is also required by policy.
Under the settlement, Kerrick is no longer a police officer. His resignation was effective Oct. 2.
The city’s total payout is $179,990, with Kerrick receiving nearly $113,000 in back pay. An additional $16,000 goes to Social Security and Kerrick’s retirement, according to the city. And the city will pay $50,631 to the attorney who represented Kerrick in a civil suit brought by Ferrell’s family.
The agreement prevents Kerrick from filing future claims against the city and also prevents Kerrick from disclosing nonpublic information about the city. The city has not paid anything for Kerrick’s criminal defense.
A second letter was sent to City Attorney Bob Hagemann by the Fraternal Order of Police requesting the city reimburse the FOP $50,000 in legal fees racked up during the civil lawsuit brought against the city and Kerrick by Ferrell’s family.
Minutes from the City Council’s closed session on Sept. 28 show Hagemann recommended council members reach a settlement with Kerrick out of court to avoid another lawsuit and a personnel hearing before the Civil Service Board.
“(Hagemann) recommended that Council consider authorizing back pay and reimbursement of legal fees related to the civil case in exchange for a voluntary resignation by Mr. Kerrick, noting that since Mr. Kerrick was not found guilty, there is a strong legal argument that Mr. Kerrick is entitled to back pay and legal fees,” minutes from the closed session read.
According to the minutes, council members unanimously agreed to authorize the city manager and city attorney to settle the matter.
Observer staff reports contributed.