One Charlotte mayoral candidate said Friday night that he favors a retrial of police Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, while two others declined to offer their opinion, saying it’s up to prosecutors.
Democrat David Howard said the declaration of a mistrial earlier Friday showed the jury still had questions.
“If those questions can be answered in a retrial, we should do it,” he told the Observer.
Howard made the comments before a forum sponsored by the Black Political Caucus.
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Democrats Michael Barnes and Dan Clodfelter told a reporter any decision to retry Kerrick in the 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell is up to prosecutors. Republican Scott Stone said he has no opinion, “because I was not there in the jury.”
Neither Democrat Jennifer Roberts nor Republican Edwin Peacock attended the forum. Roberts told organizers a family health emergency kept her away.
Barnes and Clodfelter, both lawyers, reacted cautiously to the mistrial.
“I will wait for the attorney general to make that decision,” said Barnes.
Clodfelter said while he has an opinion, “that’s not something we should comment publicly on.”
“It’s been a tough afternoon, and there are a lot of things churning in my head and my heart,” he later told the crowd of about 100. “Hold it tight. Hold it close. Keep it precious.”
Aside from that, the candidates didn’t publicly mention the trial.
Asked their priorities if elected, Barnes and Clodfelter cited economic mobility and transportation funding. Clodfelter touted his support for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Economic Opportunity Task Force.
Howard said he would focus on east- and west-side development as well as jobs.
Stone, alluding to former Mayor Patrick Cannon, now serving a federal prison sentence on corruption charges, said he would restore trust and transparency in government. He said he also would stop “runaway spending.”
Asked their visions for the future, Barnes and Howard talked about a city with good-paying jobs and opportunities. Stone envisioned a city without “political bickering.” And Clodfelter said he wants a city that continues to “dream big.”
“This is the vision that built the city over the last 50 years,” he said.