Police Kill Unarmed Man Who Was Likely Just Looking for Help After Car Accident

Heartbreaking 21

Jonathan A. FerrellNext month Jonathan A. Ferrell would have turned 25, but the former Florida A&M football player will never live to see that day. Though he had committed no crime, was carrying no weapons, and was probably just looking for help after a car accident, he was gunned down Saturday morning in North Carolina by a police officer.

According to reports, it appears that Ferrell had gotten into a fairly serious car accident that morning. He crawled out the back window of the car, then went running for help. He arrived at a house at around 2 a.m. and started banging on the door. A woman, who thought it was her husband, opened the door and was startled to see a strange man standing there. She called 911.

When police arrived, Ferrell reportedly ran toward them. One officer fired a stun gun, but when that was "unsuccessful," Officer Randall Kerrick, then fired his gun. Ferrell was shot "several times" and was pronounced dead at the scene. All because he needed help.

I always want to support police in these situations, because I want to believe most of them of them are honorable public servants who just try to do what they believe is right in what can be very intense situations. In this case (and in too many recently), however, it seems like a tragic overreaction. Ferrell knocked on the door; he did not break it down. The officer did not see a weapon, yet he shot to kill.

Authorities agree Kerrick was unjustified in his actions, and in a statement, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said:

The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent 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.

Kerrick, who has been a police officer for two years, was arrested for voluntary manslaughter and released on $50,000 bond. Two other officers who were with him during the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

Beyond the question of police using excessive force, it's a story that's also sure to raise questions of racism as Ferrell was black, and Kerrick white. Would Kerrick have been as quick to fire if Ferrell had been white? We'll never know, but the question is there, as it always is in such cases.

Nothing can be done now to unwind this terrible tragedy and the senseless death of this young man. Hopefully, however, the light shed upon it and others will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.


Do you think it sounds like the officer used excessive force?


Image via CNN

accidents, crime


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D.j. Lord

the question is always there because the stir--who thinks george zimmerman and jodi arias---are white....wants it to be there..

truth... truthrowan

Police rarely know or enforce the laws anymore, and so many (at least here) are bullies on a power trip, that it's ridiculous. This shouldn't even be a question. Of COURSE it was excessive force. An unarmed, injured man is dead because police couldn't stop to ask a question or see WHY he was running at them, or take the half second to access whether or not he had a weapon. Considering I'm just across the state line, this doesn't surprise me, though it does sadden me greatly. 

nonmember avatar Typical

As a citizen of Charlotte I would have to say that it was most likely excessive force. With all the crime in our area sky-rocketing lately its now wonder that cops aren't considering other circumstances than what they first perceive them to be.

jalaz77 jalaz77

If the accident was bad enough he probably charged at the cops because of a head injury, he probably wasn't himself, head injuries will do that. What the hell happened to tasers?? Need more info but from this story the cops could of messed up here. This is sad.

pengua pengua

So sad. He was probably running towards the cops because he thought they were there to help him. I wonder how the woman feels who called police. Did he tell her he just needed help or did she freak out and dial 911 automatically?

abra819 abra819

Somethings missing from this story im sure...

Momm2... Momm2threeboyz

My heart just sank! It's a sad day when you lose the good guy in the battle.


God bless him and his family/friends!!

nonmember avatar meghan

He walked/ran half a mile after climbing out of a a car wreck and they want us to believe he charged at them? Bull. They saw a black guy, assumed the worse and started firing. @DJ, the question will always be there as long as white people see a black person and immediately assumes they are up to something. Pretend all you want that it's the press' fault, but you are kidding yourself.

nonmember avatar Gerald

Years ago while driving on i95 to New York from my brother's school in Boston I had to search for gas in early morning, it was pitch dark and the gas stations were closed I was desperate! Eventually I came across a state trooper giving someone a ticket, I ran to him like a child to a father, in a split second he pulled his gun and flashlight both aimed at my head I froze in pure terror. My clothing ; black hood sweat top (hood pulled over head) Skin; black. His skin; white. Surroundings; dark wooded no street lights. I sure am glad he was cool and calm.

Brain... BrainyMommy

@meghan - DJ is just trolling. Don't feed him. 

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