Why CMPD Arrested Officer Randall Kerrick
A look at the deliberations that led to manslaughter charge
On September 14, 2013, the day Jonathan Ferrell died, it took the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department less than 18 hours to arrest the man who shot and killed him. That man was Randall Kerrick, a CMPD officer who is now facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter. It's the first time in more than 30 years that a CMPD officer has been charged for shooting a suspect. Jury selection in his trial begins today.
Kerrick, 29, has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers maintain that the shooting was justified. But investigators at CMPD saw the case differently. Our July feature, "Lines of Duty," describes what happened that morning in the Bradfield Farms neighborhood east of uptown. Then-CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe visited the scene of the shooting, which ended with the 24-year-old Ferrell lying in a ditch, his body riddled with 10 bullets.
Back at police headquarters. Monroe spoke to his detectives and reviewed witness statements. Here's an excerpt from the story about what happened next. It shows that even within CMPD, there are conflicting versions of events:
ONE PIECE of evidence could help clarify what happened that morning: video from the dashboard camera of one of the police cars. But about a month after Ferrell died, a local judge issued an order prohibiting the video from being released to the public. Both prosecutors and Kerrick’s attorneys feared it would taint the jury pool.
But, of course, Monroe watched the video. After he returned from the crime scene that day, he called in his investigative team and reviewed the footage. Todd Walther, a 24-year CMPD veteran who’s in his third term as president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of the Police Lodge #9, was at the meeting. So was [retired homicide detective Garry] McFadden, the detective says.
The three men give differing accounts of what happened that day.
They watched the video, and the major heading up the homicide investigation gave a debriefing on the case, Walther recalls. Then, according to McFadden, the chief said, “Everybody go home and come back. And we have a decision to make.”
Monroe denies saying this. He says McFadden wasn’t even at the meeting that day. But McFadden says he was. And in his opinion, “the tape and evidence spoke for itself.”
Walther wasn’t so sure. His organization wanted to know why Monroe wasn’t consulting the district attorney before pressing charges against Kerrick. “We felt that they pushed forward too quickly with charges that day,” he says.
Read the rest of the story here.