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WFAE's coverage of the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of Jonathan Ferrell. The court case ended in a mistrial.

City, Ferrell Family Reach $2.25 Million Settlement In Police Shooting

Todd Sumlin
Charlotte Observer

A settlement was reached Thursday between the city of Charlotte and the family of Jonathan Ferrell. In September of 2013, Ferrell, a 24-year-old unarmed black man, was shot 10 times by Charlotte police officer Randall Kerrick. Ferrell died of his injuries.

Kerrick, is scheduled to go to trial this summer on a voluntary manslaughter charge. His attorneys maintain the shooting was justified.

ATC Host Mark Rumsey and WFAE's Tom Bullock talk about the details of the settlement

The settlement ends a wrongful death civil lawsuit brought by the Ferrell family. The city admits no liability or wrongdoing but will pay the family compensation.

"I can confirm that the city of Charlotte and the Ferrell family have agreed to settle the civil lawsuit for $2.25 million.," said city attorney Bob Hagemann.

That sum is more than three times the last settlement the city reached in a police shooting. That case was settled in January of 2014.

Mayor Dan Clodfelter thanked the Ferrell family for what he called “their grace in this situation.” And he acknowledged the settlement is  not full compensation for their loss.

"We all know that money can never compensate anyone for a loss. But the City Council unanimously agreed that a prompt resolution of the civil case was in the best interest of the family, of the city and of the greater Charlotte community," Clodfelter said.

In a statement, Jonathan Ferrell’s mother, Georgia, says she has "mixed emotions" about the deal.

"Jonathan’s death remains a tragedy of the highest order and our mission has always been to ensure that no other innocent person unnecessarily loses their life to police violence.  To help achieve this objective, part of the proceeds from this settlement will be used to launch the Justice for Jonathan Foundation, whose purpose is to help law enforcement and the community better understand one another."

She concluded her statement by saying, "As always, we will never waver in our quest for justice for Jonathan and for all other victims of police misconduct."

This ends the civil case involving the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell – but not the criminal case. Kerrick's voluntary manslaughter trial is scheduled to begin July 20th.  Mayor Dan Clodfelter was asked if the city was worried this settlement would have an unfair impact on the criminal proceedings against Kerrick. 

"Well, we really aren’t able to talk at all about the criminal trial and I don’t really know what if any impact at all this could or could not have had on the criminal trial," he said.

Kerrick’s defense team feels otherwise. In a statement, attorney Michael Greene says Ferrell’s death was tragic, but justified. He called the settlement a result of a rush to judgment by the CMPD. Kerrick was charged less than 24 hours after the shooting.

Greene says that led “our elected City Officials, behind closed doors, to decide to spend precious taxpayer dollars on a civil settlement despite not having seen any of the evidence in this case and despite Officer Kerrick not having been found at all liable in the civil suit.  This civil settlement has absolutely no bearing on Officer Kerrick’s criminal case."

Greene said he and his client eagerly await their day in court and their opportunity to tell the "entire truth."