Willie and Georgia Ferrell listen as their attorney, Christopher Chestnut, talks with reporters about the mistrial in the case of Charlotte policeman Wes Kerrick accused of killing their brother and son, Jonathan, Aug. 21, 2015. 
Photo by Bob Leverone/AP

Mother wants justice after mistrial of officer who killed her son


The mother of Jonathan Ferrell says she’s still seeking justice after a North Carolina judge declared a mistrial on Friday in the case against Police Officer Randall Kerrick, who shot and killed her son in a confrontation following a traffic accident. Ferrell, a black former college football player, was unarmed.

“I’ve got to keep fighting,” Georgia Ferrell told a crowd outside the courthouse after the verdict, according to the Associated Press. “We must get justice.”

The 2013 shooting took place after Ferrell, a 24-year-old former Florida A&M University football player, emerged from a car crash to seek help at a nearby house. A woman inside called 911 to report a possible break-in, and Kerrick and two other officers responded. In police dashcam video showing his inititial encounter with police, Ferrell can be seen approaching and then running toward the officers before exiting the view of the camera. Kerrick shouts for Ferrell to get on the ground, then fires 12 times. Ten bullets hit Ferrell, who died from his wounds.

Kerrick, who said he feared Ferrell was going to hurt him, was charged with manslaughter after the shooting. But after four days of deliberations, a racially diverse jury of eight women and four men was unable to come to a decision over Kerrick’s guilt.

Peaceful protests in Charlotte over the mistrial for the white officer turned violent on Friday as demonstrators shouting “No justice, no peace” confronted police and some threw rocks and water, according to WCNC. Two people were arrested.

“I just hope it’s not like another Baltimore deal, because our city is way too beautiful for that,” one bystander told WCNC reporter Sarah Hagen.

The protests Friday are the latest in a series of tense moments between police and protesters nationwide, as communities around the country grapple with the deaths of unarmed black men – including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Freddie Gray in Maryland, and Tamir Rice in Cleveland – who have lost their lives after encounters with police.

Kerrick’s defense attorney, George Laughrun, who called for the mistrial, has argued that Ferrell’s shooting was not racially motivated. Kerrick, who faced up to 11 years in prison, testified that he shot Ferrell because he kept charging at him and he feared for his life.

Prosecutor Adren Harris said in a statement that he plans to review transcripts of the trial before deciding whether to take any other action against Kerrick.  

North Carolina

Mother wants justice after mistrial of officer who killed her son