Dozens gathered in a church in northeast Charlotte Thursday night to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who shot and killed a 24-year-old unarmed black man late last summer.
The ministers and civil rights leaders who spoke at the Next Level Ministries said that happened to Jonathan Ferrell, and the grand jury’s subsequent actions, is indicative of a nation hostile to its African American citizens.
“What does it take for an unarmed man to be shot 10 times,” Darrell Bonapart, one of the speakers, told the crowd. “…Although I wasn’t there, it doesn’t take me a lot to know that something is wrong with that picture. What is the value of life, and not life in general but black life, for a black male to be shot that many times?
Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player, died Sept. 14 after he was shot by Officer Randall Kerrick, 27. Ferrell had crashed his car and went to a nearby home seeking help when a woman inside thought he was attempting to
break in and called police. According to CMPD, Ferrell walked toward the responding officers and failed to stop when ordered to get on the ground.
On Monday, a grand jury refused to indict Kerrick on a voluntary manslaughter charge, asking prosecutors to submit a lesser option. Attorney General Roy Cooper said this week his office would resubmit the case on Monday with the original charge against Kerrick, which he called “the most appropriate charge given the facts in the case.”
At Thursday night’s rally, speakers encouraged the crowd to swarm the courthouse Monday when the grand jury meets, demanding that Kerrick stand trial.