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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's Training Under Scrutiny

Todd Sumlin
Charlotte Observer

Defense attorneys for CMPD officer Randall Kerrick say he will testify in his voluntary manslaughter trial. Nearly twoyears ago, Kerrick fatally shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, who was unarmed. Wednesday's testimony focused on Kerrick’s training and the car accident Ferrell was involved in before he was shot.

CMPD officer C.T. Thompson told the court that in 2012, he answered a call with Kerrick. Thompson said he deployed his Taser, and Kerrick had his Taser drawn on a suspect they thought was armed. Thompson says a supervisor told them they should have responded differently.

“He felt according to our training one should have had had a Taser and the other should have had your service weapon,” Thompson said.

Prosecutors pointed out that in earlier interviews, that supervisor, CMPD Lt. Eric Brady, did not recall making that statement.

The defense said that may have been because Brady was questioned more than a year after the discussion with Kerrick and Thompson. In court, Brady said he told the two officers:

“If one of you has a Taser out and you’re both stating you think the individual is reaching in his waistband for and you think he’s going for a weapon ,then one of you needs to be there with lethal force in the event it turns into a lethal situation."

On Tuesday, prosecutors called a training officer to the stand. He said CMPD police are not trained this way and that Kerrick should not have shot Ferrell.

Wednesday's testimony also focused on the car accident Ferrell was in before he was shot. The defense called an accident reconstruction expert who said Ferrell was going 38-50 MPH in a 25 MPH zone and said he was probably distracted when he ran off the road. A friend of Ferrell’s testified earlier that he and Ferrell smoked marijuana that night. Ferrell’s blood alcohol level was .06, within the legal limit to drive.

A CMPD drug expert told the court that the mixture of alcohol and marijuana could affect a person’s driving abilities. He conceded that drugs affect people differently and that he would have had to have seen Ferrell, and known the quality of the marijuana he smoked, to make an accurate assessment on whether Ferrell was impaired.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.