The North Carolina police officer involved in the Saturday shooting of an unarmed former football player was charged with manslaughter later the same day, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said. Yahoo News reported Sept. 15 that the officer's shooting of the victim was "excessive" and circumstances indicated that he didn't have a "lawful right" to shoot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell.
In a statement, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said: "The shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive. Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
Randall Kerrick turned himself in to authorities Saturday evening and was later released on a $50,000 bond. The 27-year-old police officer joined the department in April 2011, according to the Charlotte Observer.
But the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell was at first ruled "appropriate and lawful." However, a subsequent investigation found that Kerrick's actions on Saturday fit the definition of "voluntary manslaughter." According to the Observer, under North Carolina law, voluntary manslaughter is defined as killing without malice using "excessive force" in exercising "imperfect self-defense."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief Rodney Monroe said that Ferrell was the apparent victim of a car crash and had attempted to find help by walking from the wooded area where he had wrecked his vehicle to the nearest house. "It was quite possible he was seeking assistance based on his accident," Monroe said.
The woman at the house, however, thought Ferrell was trying to break in and called the police. It was about 2:30 a.m., police said.
Kerrick was one of three responding officers. According to reports, the then unidentified man was found a short distance from the house and "immediately charged" the policemen. (It is now believed he was simply running toward the officers.) He was tasered in an unsuccessful effort to subdue him. Continuing toward one particular officer, said officer "fired his weapon several times, striking the individual multiple times."
Ferrell died at the scene.
Monroe finished the statement by apologizing to the Ferrell family for the tragic incident.
The other officers at the scene were placed on paid administrative leave.
Jonathan Ferrell, who police say was unarmed when he was killed, was a former Florida A&M University football player, according to the Associated Press, wearing the school's colors for the 2009 and 2010 football seasons. He had recently moved from Tallahassee, the home of Florida A&M, to North Carolina.
Ferrell was not only found to be unarmed, but alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the car crash. Nor did it appear that he had threatened the woman who called the police.
Randall Kerrick will appear in court for a hearing again Monday, Sept. 16.