CHARLOTTE — At around 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2013, Jonathan Ferrell was involved in a car accident and walked to the nearest home for help. The woman living in that home was alarmed and dialed the police.
Soon after, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick and two other officers arrived. Kerrick fired 12 rounds at Ferrell, hitting him 10 times. Eight rounds were fired while Ferrell was on the ground.
Willie Ferrell, Jonathan’s brother, said that the country must come together at every juncture to make a change.
“We get to the point where we’ve seen it so much -- from everything that has been happening now, my brother’s situation to the situations in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s,” Willie Ferrell said.
For Willie, the world changed in a flash when his brother died.
For nearly two years, the Ferrell family awaited what the final decision would be for Kerrick. The officer faced a voluntary manslaughter charge, and the family went to court every day of the trial.
They called for peace after the judge declared a mistrial.
Following that mistrial, the attorney general dropped the charges against Kerrick. Without any further legal recourse, the family announced they would push for peace through the Justice for Jonathan Foundation.
Jonathan Ferrell’s death has and will continue to impact Willie Ferrell’s life, but he is using his voice to embrace the reality of his brother’s unforeseen tragedy.
“We must have everybody coming together from every angle to make a change,” Willie Ferrell said. “Because if you’re not helping the solution, you are not part of the solution.”
He said that he tries to emulate Jonathan Ferrell’s life by being a giving and loving man, a peacemaker.
“You must step in and try to intervene when you see someone being done wrong,” he said. “Seek justice.”
While the years have passed, Willie Ferrell remains an advocate for healthy conversations. However, he believes there is still a long way to go to heal the country when it comes to equality and police-community relations.
He said more positive interactions between police, children and the community is a way to begin -- but that consistency is key.
“The justice system does not serve African Americans well,” he said. “It can easily change if the people governing people make a decision to do the right thing. It will make the ancestors feel good about it and will make our children proud. It would make a change in the world.”
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
(WATCH BELOW: Ferrell’s family speaks to CNN)
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