Randall Kerrick; Jonathan Ferrell
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; Florida A&M Football

Randall Kerrick—the officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., Police Department who shot and killed unarmed 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player—will go on trial Monday. Kerrick faces a charge of voluntary manslaughter, according to CNN.

The September 2013 shooting incited emotional reactions across the nation, coming just a few months after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.


Here are five things you should know about the case:

1. Jonathan Ferrell was unarmed and looking for help. Around 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2013, Ferrell’s car ran off the entrance road into a suburban neighborhood just 15 miles from downtown Charlotte and crashed into some trees. Authorities believe that immediately after the crash, Ferrell climbed out the car’s back window to seek help. He knocked on the door of a nearby home. A female homeowner answered the door, thinking it was her husband returning home from work. Upon seeing Ferrell, she closed the door and called 911.


The three CMPD officers who responded to the 911 call encountered Ferrell on the road. In their description of events that night, officers said that Ferrell “charged” and “ran” at them, according to CNN. The officers attempted to stop Ferrell with a Taser before Kerrick shot him. CMPD officers found Ferrell unarmed.

2. Kerrick shot Ferrell 10 times. Kerrick fired 12 rounds, with 10 shots hitting Ferrell, causing his death. Kerrick claimed self-defense. The shooting was reportedly captured on a police dashboard cam, but the video has not been released to the public. Police ruled that the shooting was excessive, which led to the voluntary-manslaughter charge. Since Ferrell’s death, Kerrick has been on leave without pay.  


3. It took two grand juries to indict Kerrick. In January 2014, a grand jury declined to indict Kerrick, but prosecutors argued that the grand jury wasn’t a full panel and resubmitted the case. Kerrick was then indicted by a second grand jury later that month. Kerrick’s attorneys called the move to resubmit the case unlawful and attempted to block it but failed.

4. Kerrick’s lawyers tried to get the case thrown out. On May 6, Kerrick’s attorneys, George V. Laughrun II and Michael J. Greene, issued a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Ferrell was under the influence the night he was killed.


The motion claims that witness statements say that Ferrell “ingested illegal drugs, possibly marijuana, and/or other substances on the night of the shooting.” The document goes on to describe Ferrell’s interactions with CMPD officers as “aggressive conduct,” claiming “that the decedent’s behavior was caused by the alcohol he consumed and substances he smoked on the night in question.” However, a toxicology report showed that Ferrell, who had been drinking that night, was not drunk and had no drugs in his system.

5. The city of Charlotte reached a $2.25 million settlement with Ferrell’s family. Back in May, City Attorney Bob Hagemann announced at a news conference that the Charlotte City Council approved the settlement by unanimous decision. Hagemann said that the “city remains saddened by Mr. Farrell’s death” and that this was a “fair and equitable settlement.”


Ferrell’s mother, Georgia Ferrell, was pleased about the settlement but also said in a statement that “it is devastating to know that nothing we will do will ever bring Jonathan back.” 

Phillip Jackson is The Root’s summer intern and will be a junior at Hampton University in the fall. Follow him on Twitter.

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