Officer cross-examined about man killed by police gunshots

AP News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2015 4:36 PM
Officer cross-examined about man killed by police gunshots

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As a Charlotte police officer stands trial for shooting and killing an unarmed black man who was looking for help after a car crash, a second officer testified Thursday that he didn't draw his own weapon and didn't even think about pulling it.

Officer Adam Neal testified Thursday that he pulled up to the scene as officer Randall Kerrick was confronting Jonathan Ferrell early on the morning of Sept. 14, 2013.

Neal testified that he heard officer Kerrick tell Ferrell to get down, but that Ferrell was coming at the officer "hard and fast." He said he saw a Taser fired at Ferrell, but said that either the Taser missed or Ferrell fought through it. He recalled wondering if Ferrell was "on bath salts or mushrooms."

Neal told prosecutors that he would have opted to put Ferrell in a sleeper hold instead of shooting him.

Prosecutors say Kerrick is guilty because he overreacted when he killed Ferrell. Authorities said the officers did not identify themselves, and Neal's video appears to confirm that.

Defense lawyers say the shooting was justified because Ferrell charged officers before they could figure out what was going on and he tried to grab Kerrick's gun when he fell on the officer.

Also on Thursday, a forensic pathologist testified in graphic detail about the 10 bullet wounds that Ferrell sustained.

One day earlier, jurors viewed footage from Neal's dashboard camera.

On the September 2013 video, Kerrick can't be seen firing his gun 12 times. However, the sound of each shot was recorded through the microphone on Neal's uniform, along with the voice of someone yelling "Get on the ground!" three times.

Ferrell's family had seen the footage previously as part of a wrongful death lawsuit they settled with the city of Charlotte for $2.25 million. They showed no reaction to it Wednesday.

Dashboard footage from Kerrick's car and the car of a third officer is also expected to be introduced as evidence.

Kerrick, Neal and other officers were investigating after a woman called 911 and reported Ferrell was trying to break down her door as he pounded on it looking for help.

Kerrick, 28, faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department hired him in 2011 after he had worked as an animal control officer.