Grand jury refuses to indict officer charged in man's fatal shooting

by: Tina Terry Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After meeting for eight hours Tuesday, a grand jury submitted a document to the criminal clerk of court saying it will not indict Officer Randall Kerrick on the charge of voluntary manslaughter related to the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell.

A letter on the second page said the grand jury respectfully requested the district attorney submit a bill of indictment to a lesser -included, or related offense. 

"Today, our prosecutors learned that the grand jury that considered the indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter was less than a full panel. It would be in the best interest of justice to resubmit this case to a full grand jury, which we plan to do as soon as possible," said Attorney General Roy Cooper in a submitted statement.

Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the September shooting death of former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell. Ferrell was unarmed when Kerrick shot him 10 times.

Kerrick was responding to a disturbance call at an east Charlotte home and maintains he was defending himself.

Kerrick’s attorney told Channel 9 he called Kerrick and Kerrick said he's happy to see the justice system is working.

Channel 9 spoke to the attorney for Ferrell's family about the grand jury's refusal to indict Kerrick on voluntary manslaughter charges. He said he hadn't informed Ferrell's mother yet, but will comment on the case against Kerrick when he does.

Charlotte defense attorney James Wyatt said grand juries normally do return indictments and that what happened Tuesday is something he's rarely seen in Mecklenburg County.

"It's very unusual for a jury not to return an indictment and it's even doubly unusual for a grand jury to request a different charge be presented to them," Wyatt said.

Charlotte-based group True Healing Under God is planning a rally for Thursday night.

"Our hearts are sadden and confused by the grand jury's refusal to indict. Rest assure that we will rally, we will march and we will be heard. Charlotte must understand that black life matters," said John C. Barnett with THUG.

NAACP leaders expressed their outrage during a meeting Tuesday night in Charlotte.

“We have to stand up and fight this kind of evil,” said Kojo Nantambu, Charlotte NAACP president. “For a jury to say that they can't find any reason to indict him, it's despicable, it's almost inhumane.”

Civil rights leaders are hoping another grand jury will indict Kerrick for the deadly shooting.

The rally will be held at Next Level Ministries on Orr Road Thursday at 6:30 p.m. According to organizers, local leaders will speak out against the refusal to indict and announce plans of a boycott if extreme charges are not brought forth against Kerrick.

Last week, the Ferrell family filed a lawsuit against the police chief, Kerrick, the city of Charlotte and the county, accusing them of gross negligence in Ferrell's death.

Ferrell's family told Eyewitness News they're hoping this case will change the way CMPD officers conduct business in the future.