Failure to Serve and Protect

[Content Note: Police brutality; guns; violence; racism.]

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Police Officer Randall Kerrick, 27, is in custody and has been charged with voluntary manslaughter after fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell, 24, "a former Florida A&M football player who had apparently been seeking help after surviving a major car crash early Saturday morning." Kerrick is white; Ferrell is black.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the car crash was so severe that Ferrell likely had to "pull himself out" of the wreckage. He then walked to the nearest house, about a half mile away, to seek assistance. But the local resident whose home Ferrell arrived at was frightened that he was attempting to burglarize her after not recognizing him.

The resident then made a 911 call and three officers arrived at the scene. According to police accounts, Ferrell, who is African-American, acted "aggressively" and charged towards the officers. Officer Thornell Little of the Hickory Grove division of the CMPD responded with an unsuccessful attempt to fire his Taser at Ferrell. Police say that when Ferrell continued to charge toward the police, 27-year-old officer Randall Kerrick discharged his weapon several times, eventually killing Ferrell.
So, just to recap: An unarmed man injured in a car accident seeks help at a nearby home, and the neighbor is frightened and calls police, whom the man approaches imagining they are there to help, and instead they taser him and then shoot him.

A police investigation has found that "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."

As it should be. Despite the obvious attempt to cover Kerrick's ass by accusing Ferrell of "aggressively" approaching police. But it's rage-making that Ferrell was harmed in the first place. No matter how accountable the cops are ostensibly willing to be after the fact.

And I seriously question whether that "aggressive" framing would have failed to stick if Ferrell had not been a well-known collegiate athlete.

My sincerest condolences to Ferrell's family, friends, colleagues, and teammates.

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