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Jonathan Ferrell, unarmed man killed in North Carolina, was shot 10 times by police officer

Victim's family speaks out

By Mitch Weiss & Jeffrey Collins | 9/17/2013, 10:49 a.m.
Officer Randall Kerrick (left) is seen in this photo provided by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. Jonathan Ferrell (right) is seen in a photo provided by Florida A&M University. Ferrell, 24, was shot and killed Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, by North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick after a wreck in Charlotte, N.C. Ferrell was unarmed. AP photos

Lance LoRusso, an attorney and former police officer, said it's unusual for a police officer to be charged so quickly after a shooting. He said there is generally a waiting period while investigators review the evidence.

"There are a couple of reasons why police take their time. First of all it takes time to develop things like the toxicology report to determine what happened. You have to wait until daylight to reconstruct the crime scene. You have to interview all the people involved. And the officer is given the opportunity to decompress before making a statement," he said.

Ferrell's mother said Kerrick had no business being a police officer if he couldn't react properly to a man who needed help.

"I truly forgive him. I pray for him. And I pray that he gets off the police force," Georgia Ferrell said.

His family painted a picture of a bright man with an "infectious smile" who was always there for his brothers and sisters. "He was a role model," said his brother, Frank. "He had so much love in his heart. And he was always concerned about his family."

"He had dreams of being an automotive engineer. He wanted to design a car from the very last bolt to the interior," his brother said.

He said he didn't know where his brother was going that night, or why he got into the accident. But he said his brother had never been in trouble before.

Several people in the neighborhood where Ferrell went after the crash refused to talk to a reporter Monday. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police car was in one driveway just up the hill from Ferrell's wreck. No one answered the door at that home.

Ferrell was at least the sixth person to be shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers since the start of 2012. Four of them have died.

Charlotte police investigate their own officers involved in shootings. The State Bureau of Investigation can step in if requested, but they haven't been asked to do so in any recent officer-involved shootings.

In the other shootings, prosecutors decided not to charge the officers involved and an independent panel of citizens that investigates the police ruled the shootings were justified.

The shooting needs to bring more scrutiny to the Citizens Review Board so the group simply doesn't assume police officers are always right, said Kojo Nantambu, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"No police department is perfect," Nantambu said. "But every time that group investigates, they find nothing wrong."