Police chief responds to lawsuit brought by family of man killed by CMPD officer

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As a grand jury prepares to take on the criminal case of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer charged with killing an unarmed man a civil suit is now brewing against Officer Randall Kerrick as well.

Georgia Ferrell, joined by her son Willie and attorneys, spoke for the first time about a civil suit filed Monday night against Kerrick, Chief Rodney Monroe, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Read the complaint here.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of gross negligence in the September death of Jonathan Ferrell. He was unarmed when he was shot 10 times by Kerrick, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

"I feel that I shouldn't be here. This should have never happened," said Georgia Ferrell.

The family's attorneys said Kerrick's actions and other examples of excessive force detailed in the suit, support their claims that CMPD does not do enough to train its officers and enforce polices on the use of excessive force.

"When you have 979 citizens injured during arrests or attempted arrest during a two-year period and 95.5 percent of those acts go unsanctioned, zero terminations for excessive force --- that's a problem," said attorney Christopher Chestnut.

A problem Jon Ferrell's attorneys hope the legal action will help solve. His attorneys are seeking damages but said it will be up to a jury to determine how much the family would receive.

Jon Ferrell's attorney and family stressed this is not about money but getting justice for Jonathan and changing the way CMPD officers conduct business in the future.

"If history is any guide to the future and nothing changes it will happen again," said attorney Charles Monett.

"I hope and pray they get the proper training. I pray they don't kill no one else's child," said Georgia Ferrell.

The city attorney did not comment on the lawsuit since criminal charges are pending against Kerrick.

Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe said the civil suit did not come as a surprise.

“It was something that we were expecting," Monroe said. "As we've respected the criminal process, we're going to also respect the civil process, and allow that to play itself out."

He added, "I've always continued to offer my heartfelt condolences to the Ferrell family for what they're experiencing right now."

The NC attorney general will take the criminal case before the grand jury next Tuesday.

The city released a statement Tuesday afternoon.

"The civil lawsuit filed by Mr. Ferrell's estate against the City, Officer Kerrick and Chief Monroe was expected," said City Attorney Bob Hagemann.  "In light of the pending criminal charges against Officer Kerrick, it would be inappropriate to comment on the lawsuit other than to reiterate the City's and Chief Monroe's expression of sympathy for Mr. Ferrell's family."