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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.

Kerrick Violated Procedure, CMPD Captain Testifies

Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte Observer
CMPD Captain Mike Campagna testifies Tuesday.

The state has rested its case in the Randall Kerrick police shooting trial. The defense started its case by calling witnesses to the stand to counter a prosecution witness who spent parts of two days on the stand.

CMPD Captain Mike Campagna testified that Kerrick went against the department’s policy when he fatally shot Jonathan Ferrell.

Ferrell ran toward officers when dots from a Taser that another officer aimed at Ferrell appeared on his shirt. The Taser discharged but missed. Kerrick had his gun drawn, which Campagna said he was authorized to do. But Campagna testified that Kerrick was not authorized to fire it.

"CMPD policies would not authorize an officer to discharge their weapon when faced with active aggression,” Campagna testified. “Active aggression is when the person is a physical threat."

But not a deadly threat, he told the court. In these cases, Campagna says CMPD policy calls for a non-lethal response, such as the use of a Taser to control a suspect. He says Kerrick should have quickly re-holstered his gun as he was trained to do, freeing both hands to deal with Ferrell. He says CMPD gun holsters have a safety fastener that makes it hard for someone else to take it. In addition, he says CMPD training calls for officers to move away from suspects, but not by going backward as Kerrick told investigators he did.

“If someone is running straight at you, if you run straight backwards you will be overrun. We tell officers to move left or right. Furthermore, as things get more desperate, officers are trained to drop to the ground, put their body on top of the weapon,” he testified.

Campagna also disputed Kerrick’s assertion that he was trained to draw his weapon when another officer draws a Taser. The defense is expected to call witnesses today who will testify that in 2012 a superior instructed Kerrick to do just that.

The defense started presenting its case late in the day Tuesday. A former police officer Kerrick worked with testified that he was a skilled officer and a psychologist said no red flags showed up on his psychological tests when he was hired.