The Latest: Caucus presidents asks for retrial

AP News
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Posted: Aug 28, 2015 7:37 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The latest on the state of North Carolina's decision not to retry a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in 2013. (All times local):

7:30 p.m.

A bloc within the North Carolina Democratic Party wants Attorney General Roy Cooper to retry a white police officer for the shooting death of unarmed black man Jonathan Ferrell, saying there's no certainty that jurors would deadlock again.

Party African-American Caucus President Willie Fleming urged Cooper to reconsider Friday evening, hours after Cooper's office announced the decision to dismiss a voluntary manslaughter charge against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick.

Fleming says Charlotte residents deserve the respect of prosecutors to seek a verdict of guilty or innocence, rather than last week's mistrial. Eight of the 12 jurors had backed Kerrick's acquittal. Fleming also said efforts at justice must continue in light of recent police shootings and violence toward black Americans.

Cooper is preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year.

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5:45 p.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Kerry Putney says internal affairs will conduct an investigation to determine if a white police officer "followed all department policies and procedures" in the shooting of an unarmed black man.

Randall Kerrick was suspended without pay after he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013.

He was charged with voluntary manslaughter, but his trial ended with a hung jury. On Friday, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said prosecutors wouldn't retry Kerrick.

Putney said, "Our officers are expected to meet a high set of standards and they're held responsible when those expectations aren't achieved."

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5:15 p.m.

The mother of Jonathan Ferrell said Friday in an interview with The Charlotte Observer that she doesn't think prosecutors tried hard enough to convict the white police officer who killed her son.

"They didn't try hard enough. It was just another black life, Georgia Ferrell told The Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/1JC5uIV). "They don't care."

She said two prosecutors called her Friday morning to tell her that the case would not be retried. She said they told her that prosecutors wouldn't be able to find a jury that would convict Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick.

"I am going to continue to fight," she said. "I am going to work on the foundation, continue to work for justice. It's not the end."

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3:45 p.m.

North Carolina's top prosecutor says the loss of Jonathan Ferrell's life was a tragedy but that says it's time for citizens to listen to the jurors who couldn't agree to convict the police officer who fatally shot the unarmed black man two years ago.

State Attorney General Cooper spoke with reporters in Raleigh on Friday shortly after his office announced it would not retry Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick. A judge declared a mistrial last week. Eight of 12 jurors favored acquittal on a voluntary manslaughter charge against Kerrick.

Cooper says the case is closed, and prosecutors in his office unanimously agreed a retrial would "not yield a different result."

Coopers says the case emphasizes the need for more consistent law enforcement training on the use of lethal force.

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3:30 p.m.

An activist who has been working on behalf of relatives of an unarmed black man killed by a white officer says the state's decision not to retry the case leaves the family still seeking justice.

Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said Friday that he had been on a conference call just the previous night with family members of Jonathan Ferrell, the man who was shot by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick. Hough says they discussed efforts to convince the attorney general's office to retry the case.

Hough says: "Two years later, Jonathan Ferrell is still looking for help, and just like that September night after he wrecked his car, doors are being closed and people are refusing to give him the help he needs."

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3 p.m.

A defense attorney says the decision not to retry a white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black man in 2013 isn't necessarily a reason to celebrate.

Defense attorney George Laughrun spoke Friday after the decision was announced. He says: "I think there are no winners or losers here, obviously."

He called the decision a relief for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick and his family so they can "now try to put his life back together."

Laughrun says that while the attorney general's office is to be commended for its effort to gain a conviction, in part by dedicating three prosecutors to the case, Attorney General Roy Cooper also is to be commended for taking politics out of the decision not to seek a retrial. Cooper, a Democrat, is expected to run for governor in 2016.

Laughrun says: "If he were going to play politics with it, he would have sat on it for either weeks or months."

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11:40 a.m.

North Carolina state attorneys have decided against retrying a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man after his trial ended last week in a deadlock.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery told the Mecklenburg County district attorney Friday of the state's decision in the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick. He had been accused of voluntary manslaughter in the September 2013 death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player.

The jury in the case deadlocked with an 8-4 vote in favor of acquittal, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

Montgomery wrote to District Attorney Andrew Murray that state attorneys will submit dismissal papers to end the case. Montgomery says it's the prosecutors' "unanimous belief a retrial will not yield a different result."