The case of a North Carolina police officer who shot and killed unarmed, 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell will go before a grand jury later this month. Meanwhile, later today Ferrell’s family will release details of a lawsuit they have filed against several parties in connection to his death.
Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and will appear before the grand jury on Jan. 21.
Ferrell’s family has already filed a civil lawsuit the details of which will not be revealed until a midmorning news conference.
Ferrell, an unarmed young African-American man was looking for help in the middle of the night when he became the victim of gun violence. The former Florida A&M football player was involved in a serious car accident just a few blocks away from a predominately white neighborhood. He knocked on the door of one of the homes in search of help at around 2:30 a.m.
The woman who was home thought Ferrell was a burglar and called the police, reporting that a man had been insistently knocking on her front door.
After one officer unsuccessfully tried to fire a Taser at Ferrell, Kerrick fired his gun 12 times, hitting Ferrell 10 times.
While Kerrick’s legal team insists that he had the right to fire at Ferrell in self-defense, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department doesn’t agree.
“The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell wax excessive,” the police said in a public statement in September. “Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter.”
The investigation has continued since then and recent toxicology reports have confirmed that Ferrell was below the legal alcohol limit when the incident occurred.
The report also proved that there were no illegal drugs in his system.
The family’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, says that the report confirms what he knew all along.
“This confirms everything we’ve been saying since the day that Jonathan was killed: That this was an All-American guy who gave a friend a ride home and was just trying to get home himself when he had a car accident,” Chestnut told The Associated Press. “And when he runs to the officer for help, the officer shoots him 10 times.”
Ferrell was remembered in his community as a gentle giant and his fiancee, Cache Heidel, remembered him as “a joy to be around.”