Kerrick was charged with manslaughter and his trial began this summer. But after jurors deliberated for three days last week, they told Judge Robert C. Ervin they could not reach a verdict, so Ervin declared a mistrial.
On Friday, the state attorney general’s office said that since a majority of jurors voted against convicting Kerrick, it would not seek a retrial. Eight jurors voted to acquit Kerrick and four voted to convict him, Robert C. Montgomery, senior deputy attorney general, wrote Friday in a letter to R. Andrew Murray, district attorney for Mecklenburg County.
“In consideration of the jurors’ comments, the evidence available to the state, and our background in criminal trials, it is our prosecutors’ unanimous belief a retrial will not yield a different result,” he wrote.
Montgomery said the North Carolina attorney general’s office would seek to have the charge against Kerrick dismissed, which would conclude the case.
“They didn’t try hard enough,” Ferrell’s mother, Georgia, told the Charlotte Observer. “It was just another black life they don’t care, it doesn’t matter. I am going to continue to fight. I am going to work on the foundation, continue work for justice. It’s not the end.”
Ferrell, 24, was a former football player for Florida A&M. In September 2013, after he crashed his car in a Charlotte neighborhood, rolling it into a ditch, he knocked on a door seeking help, prosecutors said. A woman inside the house called 911 and said someone was “breaking in my front door — trying to kick it down,” according to a transcript released after the shooting.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Kerrick acted improperly after he and other police officers arrived. They also said Ferrell ran away from police after one officer aimed a stun gun at his chest without giving him any orders. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, said Kerrick had followed his training, and Kerrick testified that he began shooting because he thought Ferrell was “trying to get my gun.”
Ferrell’s family and the city of Charlotte settled a civil lawsuit for a reported $2.25 million this year.
The trial was a rarity, as police officers who fatally shoot people almost never face charges. A Washington Post analysis published earlier this year found that out of thousands of fatal police shootings over the last decade, only 54 officers wound up facing charges. Most of these officers were later cleared or acquitted.
Several other officers have also been charged with fatally shooting people, though, announcements that have come amid an ongoing protest movement focused on how police officers use deadly force.
Last week, a former Fairfax County, Va., police officer was charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting an unarmed man who stood with his hands raised in the doorway of his home.
The following day, two former Georgia officers were charged with murder in the death of Gregory Towns, a 24-year-old unarmed black man who died after a stun gun was used on him while he was in handcuffs. That same day, a New Mexico judge said two police officers facing murder charges would also stand trial.
Georgia Ferrell told my colleague Kimberly Kindy before the trial focused on her son’s death that she was worried jurors would accept the account from Kerrick and his attorneys.
“Society has put it into our heads that the officer is always right,” said Georgia Ferrell, whose daughter is also a police officer.