Crime & Courts

Charges officially dropped against Kerrick in police shooting

Prosecutor Teresa Postell cross-examines Officer Randall Kerrick during the officer’s voluntary manslaughter trial. On Sept. 2, the N.C. Attorney General’s Office officially dropped charges against Kerrick, nearly two weeks after a mistrial was declared with the jury deadlocked 8-4 for acquittal.
Prosecutor Teresa Postell cross-examines Officer Randall Kerrick during the officer’s voluntary manslaughter trial. On Sept. 2, the N.C. Attorney General’s Office officially dropped charges against Kerrick, nearly two weeks after a mistrial was declared with the jury deadlocked 8-4 for acquittal. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Criminal charges have officially been dropped against Randall “Wes” Kerrick, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black man nearly two years ago.

The two-page document was filed in Mecklenburg Superior Court on Wednesday, marking a formal end to a case that has thrust Charlotte into the national debate about officers’ use of force against minority suspects.

The dismissal order says, simply: “State has decided not to retry the case.”

Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that his office would not retry the case at a Raleigh news conference on Friday, a week after Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin declared a mistrial with the jury deadlocked 8-4 to acquit the officer.

Kerrick, 29, was charged with voluntary manslaughter in Jonathan Ferrell’s death during a pre-dawn encounter near Charlotte’s eastern edge.

Ferrell, 24, was unarmed. Kerrick shot him 10 times, testifying at the trial last month that he feared for his life.

Ferrell’s mother, Georgia, told the Observer after Friday’s announcement that prosecutors didn’t try hard enough.

“It was just another black life. They don’t care, it doesn’t matter,” she told the Observer. “I am going to continue to fight. I am going to work on the foundation, continue work for justice. It’s not the end.”

At the press conference, Cooper said that he understands the Ferrell family has suffered an “incredible tragedy” but that prosecutors “put their heart and soul” into the case and “did their very best” in arguing that Kerrick should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. “The loss of Jonathan Ferrell’s life is a tragedy,” Cooper said. “It should not have happened.”

After speaking with the jurors, Cooper said prosecutors agreed with the comments of “one juror who said, ‘Even if you put 12 different people in here, there will be a division between guilty and not guilty.’… We have to listen to the jurors.”

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

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