Two years after the police shooting death of former Florida A & M University football Jonathan Ferrell, an incident that led to manslaughter charges against a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, the dashcam video of the incident was released.
The video was released to the media Wednesday, on the third day of the trial of Randall Kerrick, who shot Ferrell ten times after the former football player was involved in a one-car accident around 3 a.m. in September 2013.
Ferrell had knocked on the door of a nearby resident, a woman who opened the door expecting to find her husband, but then became scared when she saw Ferrell and called 911.
The main video is short and the shooting takes place off-camera, but at the :07 mark, you can see lasers land on Ferrell’s chest, which is when he began running off camera.
Police claimed he charged them, which caused them to fear for their lives.
He was shot and killed moments later, then quickly handcuffed. Prosecutors say the cops never identified themselves.
A paramedic who arrived on the scene shortly after the scene testified Monday that he found Ferrell laying facedown in a ditch, his hands cuffed behind him.
When he asked police if he could roll him over, he was told no, according to the Charlotte Observer:
Emergency medical technician Jonathan Russell Freeze testified about arriving at the scene after Ferrell was shot. He said Ferrell was face down in a ditch and handcuffed. He checked for a pulse in the right wrist and right side of Ferrell’s neck, and then asked police if he could roll him over to check the other side for a pulse. He said he was told no by the officers on the scene.
Freeze then tended to Kerrick. He noted there was a red mark on the side of the officer’s cheek and a little bit of dried blood at the corner of his lip. He said he noticed blood on Kerrick’s hands, pants and shoes. “I saw blood. I asked him if it was his,” Freeze said. “I went to wipe some blood off of his hands before I was stopped by another officer.”
He said Kerrick was in shock, “real pale, clammy, and very upset.”
Freeze said that as he was leaving the scene, he saw a car wrecked in the trees and realized it was probably connected to the shooting.
Around 6 a.m., a detective arrived and rolled the body over to check for weapons, according to WSOCTV.
Det. Matt Hefner described how he arrived on the scene and found Ferrell lying face down in a ditch. He told the jury they still had not identified him, so he went into Ferrell’s pocket and found his wallet.
It wasn’t until sometime later that they actually rolled Ferrell’s body over.
“My sergeant requested that we rolled him over to see if he had a weapon. We did sometime after 6 a.m.,” Hefner told the court. “I assisted in checking for weapons, and none were located.”
Unlike in most police shootings that takes months to “investigate,” Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter later that day, placed on unpaid suspension, which is his current status.
PINAC correspondent, Alan McHone, who has been attending the trial since it began on Monday and has been uploading documents from the trial here as well as audio clips of 911 calls here, provided the following summary:
The trial got off to a fast start, diving straight into the details of Jonathan Ferrell’s last night alive.
First on the stand was Sarah McCartney, the homeowner who called 911 fearing that Ferrell was a burglar, when in fact it was more likely that he was looking for help. Ferrell’s accident was likely caused by the alcohol he had in his system, a .06 to be exact. The photo below shows what smashing into a heavily wooded area at 41 mph looks like. After a night of drinking with friends, failing to navigate a corner on Reedy Creek Drive, hitting the tree line at around 41 mph, Ferrell was most definitely out of it. His cell phone laid across the passenger floorboard along with his pair of shoes he left behind in the car. When he had seen 3 CMPD patrol cars approach, he was probably running due to the accident and alcohol he had previously consumed.
Day two was full of quarreling between the Defense and the Prosecutors. Photos of the dead body handcuffed were shown in court that morning, the defense argued that the same photos with different angles and lighting were just being paraded around the courtroom for sympathy. The Ferrell Family had already left the courtroom that morning in a dramatic fashion of tears and emotion, and it MOST DEFINITELY tugged the jurors heart strings. After much debate, having the jurors leave the room several times, and some redacted photos (redacted by Judge Robert Ervin actually cutting them with scissors), the trial got back on track with some photos allowed while others were not.
The dash cam video was all the excitement in court today, both sides claiming it justifies their version of the story. Even after the defense had previously claimed that Ferrell was running towards him, when actually the video shows Ferrell run past 3 patrol cars and then Kerrick is seen running around the front of his patrol car to chase after Ferrell.
How the courts think this trial will last two months is a mystery to me, with both sides laying down their aces from the get go, I wouldn’t be surprised if it only lasted a couple of weeks to a month.
Another PINAC correspondent, Joshua Brown, who has also been attending the trial this week, offered the following account:
The Officer involved shooting trial has been very interesting thus far. Everything from dash cam video, to family walkouts, to loud objections by prosecutors, to potential jurors already decided on a verdict—this case has not been disappointing. Today was the first time that the dash cam video was released to the public. On the footage you can hear Officer Kerrick tell Ferrell to get on the ground 3 times as Ferrell charges at Officer Kerrick; upon that 12 gunshots are heard.
The trial thus far has included Ferrell’s friends, the waitress from the bar he visited the night of the shooting, police officers, the homeowner whose house Ferrell banged on, and others. Ferrell has been described as smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol the night of the shooting—other friends negate that.
The Ferrell family has already been awarded a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. On the opening day of the trial CMPD lawyer Judy Emken articulated to the judge that the department wanted distance from the case, because it is being specially prosecuted by The State Attorney’s Office.
Both the prosecution and defense are doing a good job at presenting their cases; only time will tell who will get the victory.
Here is the full 36 minute video.