The following real-life scenario reminds me of why I became an attorney who helps victims of police abuse and excessive force. It is also why I am a proud member of NPAP, the National Police Accountability Project.
Jonathan A. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer
According to the Associated Press via USA Today, former Florida A&M University football player Jonathan A. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., police officer just two days ago. He had been in an automobile crash. Alcohol was not involved.
After slamming into the woods, Ferrell who played safety for the Rattlers in 2009 and 2010, climbed out of his car and walked a half-mile to the nearest house. He knocked on a woman's door to call the authorities. The woman called 911.
When the police got to the scene, the responding officers surrounded Ferrell, who immediately charged at the police, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief Rodney Monroe said. One officer tried unsuccessfully to subdue Ferrell with a taser. Officer Randall Kerrick then fired his weapon several times.
According to the AP, Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter as he apparently killed Ferrell while using excessive force.
This civil rights case shows how dangerous police-citizen encounters are. For the sick, the wounded, the mentally ill, or others who fail to behave as normal, compliant citizens, the consequences can be lethal.
The life of Jonathan Ferrell must not be in vain. His family must take appropriate steps to seek justice. For, in the end, Jonathan’s greatest legacy will not be known on the football field. It will be known in the courtroom, the place where his family can seek justice to make the city of Charlotte-Mecklenburg a safer place. Ultimately, it is by taking action that the Ferrell family can bring sense to their senseless loss.