Early Saturday morning, police in Charlotte, North Carolina shot and killed 24 year old Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, after Ferrell attempted to get help following what was described as a “pretty serious accident.”
According to Charlotte television station WSOC, Ferrell knocked on a door in the Northeast Charlotte subdivision of Bradfield Farms in the early morning hours of Saturday September 14. A woman who lives at the address opened the door, believing it was her husband. When she opened the door and saw Ferrell, who she did not know, she quickly closed the door and called 911.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe said that when police arrived Ferrell, who was unarmed, “immediately charged the three officers, one in particular.” That officer, 27-year-old Randall Kerrick, drew his weapon and fired several shots, striking Ferrell “multiple times.” Ferrell was pronounced dead at the scene.
A short time after the incident police say they found a black car that had apparently crashed in the woods which they believe belonged to Ferrell. According to Chief Monroe
We believe that vehicle belonged to the individual who was shot. It’s quite possible he was seeking assistance. Based on his accident, it was a pretty serious accident.
Officer Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter, while the other officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation. Officer Kerrick turned himself in on Saturday afternoon.
At this time there is no evidence to suggest that this was anything more than a terrible accident. However, once again it raises questions about racial attitudes in America. Jonathan Ferrell was black. From the information and photos available on the Bradfield Farms HOA’s website the community appears to be a middle class, mostly white neighborhood. Based on reports there is no evidence that Ferrell attempted to enter the residence of the woman who called police, or that he attempted to accost her in any way, yet apparently she did not try to communicate with him, even through a locked door. Instead she hit her “panic alarm” and called police. Just as George Zimmerman decided that Trayvon Martin was out of place in the community where he was killed, could both the woman and the police officers have assumed that Ferrell was “up to no good” because he was “out-of-place?”
As the Trayvon Martin case proved, the media created myth of the criminal young black man is alive and well in supposedly “post-racial” America. While we will never know for sure, there is a good chance that had Jonathan Ferrell been white, he would still be alive.
Here’s the video, from Charlotte’s WSOC TV: