The Slatest

Charlotte Police Officer Who Killed An Unarmed Black Man Resigns After Mistrial, Will Receive $113,000 in Back Pay

Randall Kerrick Trial 2015
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick testifies during his voluntary manslaughter trial, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C.

Photo by Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool

The Charlotte, North Carolina police officer who stood trial this summer for shooting and killing an unarmed 24-year-old black man in September 2013 has resigned as part of a settlement with the police department, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Randall “Wes” Kerrick, who is white, shot former college football player Jonathan Ferrell ten times during a nighttime confrontation. Ferrell had been in a car wreck in the suburban neighborhood of Bradfield Farms, and encountered Kerrick and two other officers after a frightened homeowner who believed Ferrell to be a burglar called 911.

In a deviation from the script so many Americans have become accustomed to since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department arrested Kerrick shortly after the shooting, having determined, based on dash-cam footage, that he had used excessive force. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter. The North Carolina Attorney General’s office at first failed to win an indictment on the charge from a grand jury, but after presenting the case a second time, convinced a second grand jury to deliver the indictment.  

Kerrick’s trial ended Aug. 21, with the jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquittal. The judge declared a mistrial, and the AG announced that his office would not attempt to try Kerrick a second time. (You can read about Kerrick’s trial, its aftermath, and the extent to which it did and didn’t leave the people of Charlotte with a sense that justice had been served, in a Slate feature on the case published earlier this week.)

According to the Observer, Kerrick’s last day as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was October 2nd; prior to that time, a representative for the department told me at the end of September, he had been on unpaid administrative leave.

The terms of the settlement between Kerrick and his now-former employer provides him with $113,000 in back-pay. An additional $16,000 will go toward social security and Kerrick’s retirement, according to the Observer, and about $50,000 more will go the attorney who represented Kerrick in the civil suit that Ferrell’s family filed in the wake of his death. The settlement will cost the city of Charlotte a total of $179,989.59.

Jonathan Ferrell’s mother was quoted in the Observer as saying, ““I know he doesn’t deserve it, but I can’t do anything about it. Let them go ahead and pay him.”

One of the lawyers who represented Kerrick in the criminal trial told the paper in a statement that his client’s actions on the night of September 14, 2013 had been justified under the law. “Wes Kerrick and his family look forward to new endeavors and are eager to place this tragic chapter of their lives behind them.”