Saturday, August 22, 2015

Kerrick Defense Team Releases Statement

"We, defense counsel for Officer Randall Wesley Kerrick would first like to thank the jury for its thoughtful deliberations in this case. Officer Kerrick and his family have always respected the criminal justice system that they have worked for their entire lives. All of the jurors, regardless of how they voted, were cautious, considerate and deliberate. It is citizens such as these that make our justice system work. We thank you.

The shooting of Jonathon Ferrell, while tragic, was justified given the facts and circumstances presented to Officer Kerrick at the time of the shooting. From the onset of this case, we have had to fight several battles. First, was former Chief Rodney Monroe's rush to judgment in charging Officer Kerrick. In addition, his statements to the media that Jonathon Ferrell was "likely looking for help." At trial, the State did not present ANY evidence to support this theory. Second, was the media that adopted the Chief Monroe's narrative and continually showed Officer Kerrick's mugshot photo opposite photos of Ferrell in a tuxedo and/or football uniform. Third, was our own city officials who made the unbridled decision to stop funding for Officer Kerrick's civil defense despite him still being in their employ. These same city officials met behind closed doors and opted to spend $2.25 million tax payer dollars on a civil settlement before the resolution of the criminal case. It is unfortunate that these battles waged outside of the courtroom made our task to be zealous advocates for Wes Kerrick inside the courtroom even more daunting.

Florida civil Attorney Christopher Chestnut took the opportunity as the cameras rolled yesterday to once again distort the facts and evidence in this case. He indicated that the dash cam video was "misconstrued" and that if all of the evidence had been presented, Officer Kerrick would have been convicted. In hearing witness testimony and in viewing both the physical and scientific evidence, the majority of which was provided by the defense, it was clear to the vast majority of jurors that this was a case of self-defense. For nearly two years, Attorney Chestnut's conduct in this case has been unprofessional and his tactics have been deceitful. It is interesting to note that he did not spend one day in court listening to the testimony or viewing the evidence. His habitual misrepresentations of the truth in this matter are an offense to the legal profession.

It is now time for our city to heal. It is time to put down the protest signs, unball our fists and extend our hands to each other in fellowship. It is time to begin a dialogue of how we all can make ourselves better citizens and live together in harmony. Whether one believes that the shooting was justified or excessive force was used, one constant remains: justice is not a result; justice is a process. For nearly two years, Officer Kerrick has gone through this process. Officer Kerrick was charged with Voluntary Manslaughter, was arrested, was made to post a $50,000 secured bond, had a finding of a no true bill of indictment returned by the first grand jury, had his case presented again to a different grand jury, went through a civil lawsuit and finally, a criminal trial. He went through this process all while having to make a living for himself, his wife and their 15 month old son.

Officer Kerrick did not have to take the stand and testify in his trial. In fact, our constitution affords him that very right. However, he wanted the citizens of Charlotte to know why he made the decision that he did that fateful night. He wanted them to know it was not a decision he took lightly. He wanted the jurors to know that he was honoring the oath he took on October 7, 2011, when he swore to protect the citizens of our community.

We recognize that the Ferrell family has also had to go through a process. We do not begin to know the pain the family has been through these last two years. They have carried themselves with grace and dignity. The Kerrick family extends their sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Ferrell family. They deeply regret the loss of Jonathon.

It is our sincere hope that Attorney General Roy Cooper will not seek to retry Officer Randall Wesley Kerrick. The citizens of this community have spoken through a fair and impartial jury selected by both the prosecution and the defense. After hearing the entire story, the vast majority of jurors believed that Officer Kerrick is not guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter."

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