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Kerrick Jury Hears Testimony From Officer On The Scene

Still of dash board camera video from Officer Adam Neal's police car

The long-awaited dash cam video was played for the first time Wednesday in the Randall Kerrick trial. It’s a key piece of evidence for the defense and prosecution and raises a lot of questions. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 fatal shooting of Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed African-American man.

The video came from CMPD Officer Adam Neal’s police car dash cam. Neal was one of three officers on the scene when Jonathan Ferrell was killed.

Ferrell had been in a car accident and prosecutors say he was seeking help from a nearby homeowner, who thought he was a burglar and called 9-1-1.

In testimony Wednesday, Neal said he turned his camera on as soon as he started to respond to the call.

The video starts out with Officer Neal driving quickly down local streets with his siren blaring and blue lights flashing. He periodically gets information from a dispatcher about the 9-1-1 call concerning a possible burglary. He was told the suspect was still on the scene.

The video shows Neal arriving on the scene just behind the other two police cars. One is Kerrick’s. As Ferrell is seen walking up the sidewalk, Neal’s car is on the grass on the left side of the road, and the other two cruisers are on the right.

As Ferrell approaches the officers, he seems to start to put his hands in his pockets. That’s when Taser lights show up on his chest and he begins running forward between the police cars. One officer steps toward him and then backs away, as Ferrell runs out of the camera’s view.

An officer yells three times, “Get on the ground.”

Then a burst of gunshots is heard, a pause, and then another burst. 

Kerrick fired 12 shots that night. Ten hit Ferrell. The whole interaction. from the officer pulling over to the end of those shots, lasted 20 seconds.

Then an officer yells three times, “Don’t move.”

Neal told prosecutors he did not see exactly where Kerrick and the other officer were positioned because he had to maneuver around a ditch and go around the front of his car to get to them. He also said he could not make out any commands given to Ferrell before the shots.

Neal did say he saw the Taser dots and said Ferrell did not start to run until they appeared on his shirt. He told prosecutors that he saw the extended Taser wire, meaning the Taser had been discharged. Neal was not sure if the Taser connected with Ferrell but says he still did not pull his gun.

“I thought we were going to get into a fight. Once I seen that he ran through the taser, I’m thinking fight versus pulling out anything,” said Neal. 

But in cross examination with the defense, Neal said he did not use his gun or Taser because he feared he would mistakenly hit Kerrick.

Neal said he got to Kerrick and Ferrell after the first four shots were fired. Kerrick was seated with one leg extended and the other one pushing Ferrell off of him. Neal says Ferrell’s upper body was across Kerrick’s knees and feet after the first shots were fired. He says Ferrell began crawling and trying to pull up on Kerrick in a “swimming” type of motion.

“Johnathan stopped pulling and then that pause. That’s when the shots stopped and then he started again crawling up on Officer Kerrick again and then another volley of shots came. At that point that’s when Jonathan stopped,” said Neal

In earlier testimony, emergency officials said Kerrick had a small cut on his face and inside his mouth and told them Ferrell had hit him. Neal says he did not see Ferrell punch Kerrick. Neal’s testimony continues today.