AG Cooper Won't Retry Kerrick
“Our prosecutors believe unanimously that a retrial will not yield a different result.”
Those were the words of Attorney General Roy Cooper in explaining his decision not to retry CMPD officer Randall Kerrick for the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrrell two years ago.
“Our prosecutors have reviewed the evidence, talked to members of the jury, and consulted other prosecutors in the office with experience in criminal court trials," said Cooper, adding “it was the right thing” to seek a conviction, but that “we need to listen to what the jury said.”
Two years ago, Kerrick shot Jonathan Ferrell ten times. Kerrick and two other officers were responding to a 911 call about a break-in. Kerrick is white and Ferrell was black and unarmed.
Ferrell’s mother had pushed for a retrial after a judge declared a mistrial last week. The jury could not come to a verdict. Eight jurors wanted to acquit Kerrick and four find him guilty.
Georgia Ferrell said Friday she was deeply disappointed in the attorney general’s decision.
“I was hoping they would have moral feelings about this and think of Jonathan as their child… who was murdered wrongfully,” said Ferrell.
One of the attorneys representing the Ferrell family in the civil case said he’s disappointed the public won’t get a chance to see some of the evidence.
“There was a walk-through the morning of the shooting at the scene. I think a reasonable interpretation of that walk-through would be that there were significant contradictions between what he said happened and what’s shown on the actual dash-cam,” said attorney Charles Monnett.
He also criticized prosecutors for not getting former CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe on the stand.
“I’m not going to second guess my prosecutors about their strategy in this trial. It’s a very difficult trial….They made decisions and I support those decisions,” said Cooper when asked about those decisions.
Kerrrick's defense attorneys, George Laughrun and Michael Greene, issued a statement that praises Cooper for "acting quickly and in the interest of justice and more importantly, not in the interest of politics."
Their statement goes on to criticize former CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe, who charged Kerrick within 24 hours of the shooting.
"Officer Kerrick followed his training and followed North Carolina law during the early morning hours September 14, 2013. Former CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe's rush to judgment was truly unfortunate. However, what is fortunate, is that the physical and scientific evidence in this case spoke for itself without passion or prejudice. After hearing all of evidence, the jury, selected by both the prosecution and the defense, by an overwhelming majority came to the same conclusion– that Randall Wesley Kerrick is not guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
The statement concludes by saying Kerrick is "relieved that this matter is finally at rest and that he and his family can return to their everyday lives."
The president of the NC Fraternal Order of Police, Randy Hagler, called Cooper’s decision “good news.”
“The fact that the attorney general’s office has decided not to retry this case kind of solidifies in the officer’s mind that this was a rush to indict or a rush to arrest,” said Hagler.
Hagler says CMPD has a lot of work to do to repair the rift the case created among police officers.
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney acknowledged divisions among police officers Friday morning on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks.
"What I can tell you is that we’ve had a lot of conversations, still continuing those open lines of communication so that I can hear, fully appreciate, and understand," said Putney.
Cooper said the state needs to learn from the Kerrick case and more consistently and better train law enforcement officers to protect the lives of “the citizens they are charged to protect and serve.”