Randall Kerrick: NC Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter

By: Brian Powell - September 17, 2013

Around 2:30 AM Saturday, 24 year old Jonathan Ferrell approached the nearest house and started knocking on the door “viciously”. Ferrell had wrecked approximately .5 miles down the road and stopped at the nearest house to ask for help. The woman at home approached the door, expecting her husband to be returning home from work. When she saw Ferrell, the woman panicked and called police.

When the police arrived on the scene, Ferrell ran toward them, presumably to tell them what had happened. The police officers told Ferrell to stop, and when he did not, one officer fired a taser toward Ferrell and missed. Cue Randall Kerrick. Upon his fellow officer’s failure to bring down the suspect, police officer Randall Kerrick decided now would be a good time to become a hero and fire 12 bullets at Ferrell – 10 of which struck home. Ferrell was pronounced dead at the scene.

It took a total of 19 hours for police to investigate and hand down a sentence. Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. Lance LaRusso, a current attorney and former police officer, says that the quick turnaround for the sentencing of a police officer is unusual: “There are a couple of reasons why police take their time. First of all, it takes time to develop things like the toxicology report to determine what happened. You have to wait until daylight to reconstruct the crime scene. You have to interview all the people involved. And the officer is given the opportunity to decompress before making a statement.”

However, Charlotte police say that there is good reason for the quick sentencing: “The fact that Officer Kerrick discharged his weapon and that Mr. Ferrell was unarmed were some of the factors included in the decision to charge Officer Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter.” The Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department also released a statement in which they stated “The shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive. Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”

Despite their apparent cooperation and expediency in regards to giving Kerrick his just due, the NAACP and Ferrell’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, believe that the only reason for such diligence is due to the recent events surrounding Trayvon Martin: “Trayvon Martin was a recipe for what not to do,” stated Chestnut.

Chestnut and the NAACP also believe that the events transpired because of the inherent racism which still exists in the United States.”Any day in this country, an African-American man can be killed for no reason by the people who are supposed to be protecting him. That’s not an anomaly in this country. They’re never given the benefit of the doubt, and that has to change,” stated the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP. Chestnut also released his own statement concerning the issue of race in this case: “The officer is white, Mr. Ferrell is black. This might be more of a reflection of where we are as a country.”

Racism has seemed to be a hot-button issue this year, which is ironic considering this is the 50th anniversary of MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. First, we had the issue concerning Trayvon Martin. We then had the issue in which Riley Cooper made some racist statements at a concert. This weekend, we had the controversy surrounding Miss America being of Indian descent. And now this atrocity. Now seems to be the time for us to all sit down and have a national discussion concerning race, but America still seems to believe that race isn’t an issue. However, we all know that the only colorblind person is Stephen Colbert.

Image via YouTube

Brian Powell

About the Author

Brian PowellBrian Powell is a contract writer for WebProNews. In his day job, he is a teacher and tutor for The Princeton Review. He also serves as an assistant coach to Transylvania University's Speech and Debate team.

View all posts by Brian Powell
  • Donna

    My husband and I sincerely believe that this was a very unnecessary tragedy that happened to Mr. Ferrel. Why would anyone think that they need to fire 12 rounds at someone is highly ridiculous! The police should have given Mr. Ferrel a chance to explain before he was killed in cold blood. We’re praying for his family and that this officer is charged with murder and sent to prison with no chance of parole.

  • Real

    There are many dirty cops today. If you need to see how awful they can be, just search for Tamara Gaglione on the net and watch what happens to her. She was pregnant at the time and why six cops had to hog tie her then lay her face down on the ground for a routine traffic violation is beyond me. The video speaks volumes.

    There used to be a time when I really trusted the police. Maybe it was because I was young, but as I have grown older, I have seen what they do behind closed doors. When I was growing up, it used to be a handful of bad cops and the vast majority were great. Now, that has reversed. There are a handful of good ones and majority are dirty. It is a shame really.

    The sad part is that few media outlets cover police abuses. Daily, cops are fired at prisons for beating inmates, bringing in cell phones, bringing in drugs, bringing in weapons, stealing, and sometimes killing inmates. Yet, the public never hears about these things. We never hear about the drug money that is taken during drug arrests. We never hear about a lot of things. All we see is the litany of cop dramas on TV that glorify the police.

    Unfortunately, the difference between TV and the real world is vast. Also, the average person doesn’t spend a lot of time around cops. The more time you spend around them the more you see what I am talking about. It becomes so apparent that people who choose to go into law enforcement often have a egotistical, arrogant, controlling, and violent mindset. When you give someone like that a little power, you are asking for trouble.

    I guess at the end of the day, I tip my hat to the good ones and all I can say to the bad ones is that God sees everything. This isn’t the only life a person lives. In fact, it is just the beginning. What I find interesting is that some of the people we have in our jails and prisons may have only made one small mistake in their entire lives. You could actually be much safer around a person who has been to jail. Yet, the people who are arresting them and sending them to jail, have a history of wrong doing that simply never gets exposed because at the end of the day, you can’t rely on the police and judges to investigate themselves. They simply aren’t held accountable for anything.

  • Fred Sights

    The more I try to understand as well as listen to both view points as to what is occurring the more I can’t understand why most people are comfortable saying that there is no race issues in the United States.

    True it is a very unnerving subject but if we are able to run campaigns about low tolerance on bulling, the acceptance of gay rights, dogs and cats that need love as well as homeless children (overseas mind you)that need clean water, WHY THE HELL CAN’T WE TAKE THE TIME TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE!!!!!!

    It is for everyone to take a long hard look these cases (which are many) and admit the reality that this is happening in our house of America!

  • Dennis

    This article is full of inaccuracies that tend to inflame or exhagerate the facts of the article. AND I’ve only read the first three paragraphs! #1: …Ferrell ran toward them, presumably…. Journalists are not allowed to “presume” it leads the reader to believe something other than FACT. #2: “Cue Randall Kendrick”… “now would be a good time to become a hero”… WTF?? again leading the story and interjecting opinion and projecting thought into a subject of the story… That’s rediculous! #3: “…19 hours for police to investigate and hand down a sentence” POLICE don’t hand down sentences, they may profer charges or charge a suspect but a sentence has a totally different LEGAL meaning and is far from the same. I suggest that Mr. Powell, the writer of this article, go to school and take a journalism class… this is trash!!! Anyone that would allow someone to publish this should be harshly scolded… and they have the jouralistic credibility of a french fry…

  • Dave

    This is a tragedy of circumstances. First, if he had one, Ferrel probably should have used his cell phone to call for help. Second, the lady shouldn’t panic and assume that just because there’s a non-white man there at 2am, that he’s there to attack her. (Let’s face it, though. ANY man banging at our front door at 2am would have probably freaked us ALL out!) Third, the police heard the dispatcher tell them of a burglary in progress (a felony). The Police were probably telling Ferrel to stop. Forth, Ferrel should of stopped. Fifth, the first officer shouldn’t have relied on his training and looked at the facts as he saw them – “burglary in progress, I’m yelling at the subject to stop, but the subject is not stopping, subject is coming at me = TASER him.” Sixth, Officer Randall shouldn’t have relied on HIS training and looked at the facts as HE saw them – “burglary in progress, subject not stopping, subject is coming at my friend, friend fired TASER at him, but he’s still attacking, I must protect my friend as he has a family to provided for.”

    Yeah, 12 is a lot of shots, but have you ever been in a life-or-death situation?! Are you counting bullets? Or shoot till the person stops advancing at your friend? [Put in another way – Imagine yourself protecting a family member from being attacked in a life-changing event.] Please research the studies on human behavior during life-changing events.

    Anyway, we shouldn’t be Monday Morning Quarterbacking. Let the investigators, lawyers, judge and jury do their jobs.