Family Sues Police Department After Seriously Injured Man Gunned Down By Officers

Jan 30, 2014

A North Carolina mother has filed a wrongful death suit following the killing of her son by a Charlotte police officer. One of the officers involved in the incident has since been charged with voluntary manslaughter after firing 12 bullets at 24-year-old Jonathon Ferrell.

The lawsuit was filed following the events that transpired late one night when Ferrell was involved in a car accident after dropping a friend off at his house. The accident was a serious one and ended with Ferrell’s car getting stuck at the bottom of a ditch. Badly injured and confused, Ferrell was forced to kick his way out of the back window of his car and then hobble for a half-mile up a hill to a nearby home, hoping to find help.

Unfortunately, Ferrell picked a home with a young mother whose husband was not at home. The woman heard Ferrell at the front door and thought he was there to break into the house; she called 911 and asked for police assistance. Three officers eventually arrived at the woman’s house and began a confrontation that would result in Ferrell’s death.

According to one of the officers involved, Ferrell charged the police officers, leading one officer to try, and fail, to use a Taser. Another officer, Randal Kerrick, pulled out his gun and fired 12 shots at Ferrell, hitting him a total of 10 times, eight times in the chest. Within a day of the fatal shooting, police investigators decided that Kerrick had behaved irresponsibly and used excessive force, a determination that led to voluntary manslaughter charges.
In the lawsuit filed earlier this month, family members say that Ferrell never behaved aggressively during the encounter and that ballistic evidence reveals he was shot either while laying down or while on his knees. The suit also explains that the police officers failed to identify themselves to Ferrell, instead, sneaking up on him quietly with their guns already drawn. Rather than ask questions or wait for a response, Ferrell was instead gunned down while attempting to comply with the officers’ requests.

Both the wrongful death lawsuit and the criminal charges against Kerrick will move forward in the coming months. In the meantime, a mother is forced to deal with the tragic and unexplained loss of her young son. Ferrell had his whole life ahead of him, a hard worker who played football for Florida A&M and who had only recently relocated to Charlotte to be with his fiancé. Ferrell held two jobs and was widely liked by all who knew him.

Though no amount of money could begin to compensate a mother for the loss of her son, the reality is that in the civil justice system money is the way that wrongdoers are punished for their actions. The hope is that by filing suit against Kerrick and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, important changes can be made to ensure that something like this never happens again.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed in a Georgia accident and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia wrongful death lawyers at the Warshauer Woodward Atkins today to schedule a free consultation.

Source: Family of unarmed North Carolina man killed by police files wrongful-death suit, by Gabe Gutierrez, published at