Crime
11:56 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Grand Jury Indictment Clears Way For Trial Against CMPD Officer Kerrick

The Rev. Dwayne Collins speaks at the prayer vigil outside the Government Center on Monday morning.
The Rev. Dwayne Collins speaks at the prayer vigil outside the Government Center on Monday morning.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Last week, a Mecklenburg County grand jury refused to indict a Charlotte police officer, Randall Kerrick who shot an unarmed black man 10 times. On Monday, a different grand jury indicted Kerrick on a charge of voluntary manslaughter for the September incident.

The indictment came after a judge earlier in the day denied the request of Kerrick's attorneys who tried to block prosecutors from resubmitting the case to the new grand jury.


Officer Randall Kerrick
Officer Randall Kerrick

The indictment of officer Randall Kerrick is significant because of what happened last week – when another grand jury decided there wasn’t probable cause that Kerrick is guilty of voluntary manslaughter and instead asked prosecutors to submit a lesser charge.

Kerrick shot at 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell a dozen times in mid-September and hit him 10 times. He and two other officers were responding to a report of an early morning break-in, but Ferrell was seeking help after wrecking his car. Kerrick was the only officer who shot at Ferrell. CMPD charged Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter less than 24 hours later.

Ferrell’s fiancée has said she believes he was racially profiled. Ferrell was black, and Kerrick is white.

The Rev. Billy Grier led the prayer outside the government center on Monday morning.
The Rev. Billy Grier led the prayer outside the government center on Monday morning.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

So did about 75 other people who protested – and prayed - outside the Government Center. Reverend Billy Grier led the prayer: 

"So God we ask now that you be with those oh God on the grand jury," Grier said. "Lord, we ask now that you would let justice go forward … In Jesus name we pray, say Amen."

"Amen!" the crowd responded.

"To take the life of an unarmed citizen, we don't want to call it racism/white supremacy, but we have to call it for what it is!" said the Reverend Dwayne Collins. 

Next door inside the courthouse, Kerrick's attorney Michael Greene tried to block the case from going forward in front of a second grand jury.  He accused prosecutors of "grand jury shopping."

Special deputy attorney general Adren Harris shot back that the motion filed by defense attorneys was "a bunch of fluff" and that they were running around in circles.

Prosecutors said, and Judge Bell agreed, that there is nothing in the state law that prevents the state from re-submitting an indictment.

One of the Ferrell's family attorneys, Charles Monnett, was smiling as he left the courtroom after hearing the judge's decision. And he says he and the Ferrell family are relieved that the grand jury decided to indict Kerrick on the voluntary manslaughter charge.   

"We were all surprised by the results of the first grand jury and I think they redoubled their efforts to make sure that this time they left nothing to chance," Monnett says. 

According to the indictment, the grand jury last week heard from two witnesses: one from CMPD and one from the State Bureau of Investigation. Yesterday, the new grand jury heard from four witnesses.

Earlier in the day, Kerrick's attorneys also requested Judge Robert Bell issue a gag order for anyone associated with the case. Bell says he can't issue a blanket gag order, but he also has concerns about the publicity surrounding this case. He told the defense attorneys to file a formal motion if they want a gag order.