The White North Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed Black man who crashed his car and was seeking help in Sept. 2013, testified Thursday that he believed Jonathan Ferrell was trying to get his gun.
Police officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter for the shooting, often broke down in tears on the stand as he detailed his brief encounter with the former Florida A&M University player. At one point, Kerrick said he thought he would die “because I could do nothing that would stop him.” Disturbing video shows Ferrell running towards cops in what prosecutors say was an attempt to get help after his accident. The narrative of a Black male “charging” towards police, prompting them to open fire, is a familiar one — just last year, former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson testified in front of a grand jury that Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager he shot and killed, ran towards him “like a demon.”
In fact, another officer on the scene with Kerrick, identified as Thornell Little, said the young man charged at police “full speed, like a bull rush, like a bum-rush type of run.”
Kerrick testified that he left the home to back up Officer Thornell Little, who went to check on “grunting and screaming” noises that they had heard coming from the road.
Little had his Taser drawn, but the suspect continued to advance, Kerrick said, according to NBC station WCNC of Charlotte. Kerrick said he pulled his gun to back up Little because the Taser didn’t stop Ferrell. Kerrick testified that he feared Ferrell might harm him and Little. As Ferrell began approaching, Kerrick backed up and yelled commands for him to stop and to get on the ground.
But “he wouldn’t stop,” Kerrick said. “He kept trying to get my gun.”
Kerrick, the only officer to open fire, shot at Ferrell 12 times. Ten of the bullets hit the former football player.
If convicted, Kerrick faces up to 11 years in prison.
SOURCE: NBC | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
Side-By-Side, Photographic Proof Not Much Has Changed One Year Later In Ferguson
Ferguson Interim Police Chief Was Previously Suspended Three Times For Misconduct
Photographic Proof Not Much Has Changed In Ferguson Since Michael Brown's Death
14 photos Launch gallery
1. 2014: Michael Brown's lifeless body was left in the streets of Ferguson for more than four hours after he was killed by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9.
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2. 2015: Tyrone Harris, 18, was shot in Ferguson Sunday night by police for allegedly attacking them with a firearm. He remains in critical condition and is facing four charges of first-degree assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action, and one count of discharging a firearm at a motor vehicle.
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3. 2014: Unrest in Ferguson plagued the city after police officers clashed with protesters.
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4. 2015: Police stand to maintain the crowd after shots rang out on the anniversary of Mike Brown's death.
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5. 2014: An unarmed protester was approached by police during protests in Ferguson. The image became one of the most memorable of the city's uprising.
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6. 2015: A woman stands before police with her hands up in the air.
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7. 2014: After the shooting of Mike Brown and the death of Eric Garner, unrest continued to rise in Ferguson. After it was determined that Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the fatal shooting of the teen, protesters took to the streets.
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8. 2015: Since the death of Brown, over 100 men, women, and children of color have been killed by police. Worldwide protests have continued advocating for better training for police officers.
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9. 2014: A woman hit with pepper spray is doused with milk. Ferguson police issued curfews for protesters after incidents of arson and looting occurred during peaceful protests in the city.
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10. 2015: A year later, protesters say they too were hit with tear gas while protesting in the streets.
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11. 2014: The National Guard was called into Ferguson to "control" protests.
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12. 2015: A teen is caught in the crossfire during a shooting that took place in Ferguson on the anniversary of Mike Brown's death.
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13. 2014: Army tanks filled the streets of Ferguson after protests turned violent in the city.
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14. 2015: St. Louis police with army gear arrive in Ferguson Sunday night.
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