A Charlotte police officer was indicted on voluntary manslaughter charges this week, the second opportunity a Grand Jury has had to consider the facts and charges in the case. The first Grand Jury to review the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell declined to indict the Charlotte cop, Randall Kerrick, on voluntary manslaughter charges. That Grand Jury had requested the case be resubmitted with lesser charges.
Prosecutors involved in the case declined to lower the charges against Kerrick and instead submitted the bill of indictment to a second Grand Jury. Kerrick’s criminal defense team fought the second submission, but was unsuccessful. Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell the night he was killed. At least a portion of the shooting was captured on the officer’s in-cruiser dash camera. Reports of the shooting note that Ferrell was unarmed, prompting many to question whether Kerrick’s use of force was reasonable and ultimately leading to his recent indictment on criminal charges.
Kerrick was arrested at the order of the Police Chief on the same day of the shooting for using excessive force. The highly-publicized officer-involved shooting has raised doubts about whether an impartial jury can be impaneled to hear the case, should it go to trial. Kerrick’s defense attorney doesn’t expect the voluntary manslaughter case to wind its way through the North Carolina criminal justice system until the end of the year, at the earliest.
There is no prohibition in North Carolina against the submission of the same information to a Grand Jury for consideration after one Grand Jury has declined to indict or return a true bill.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “CMPD Officer Kerrick indicted in shooting of unarmed man,” January 27, 2014