CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
More than a dozen people gathered near the courthouse before the hearing started for Randall Kerrick, a former police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed man in 2013.
Kerrick did not attend the hearing. The defense requested that the case be dismissed, stating evidence had been destroyed. That evidence was the blood of the man killed, Jonathan Ferrell, which would reveal if he consumed any drugs or alcohol before the fatal encounter.
The group, T.H.U.G. (True Healers Under God), gathered in Marshall Park about and hour and a half before the hearing started.
"They want to search for drugs in Jonathan Ferrell's blood they should have done that two years ago. This is just another smokescreen that they are trying to throw over the community," John C. Barnett, founder of T.H.U.G., said.
Barnett called the group "Court Patrol." The supporters of Ferrell wanted to have a presence in the court hearing. "Mrs. Ferrell texted me this morning and gave us her blessings and we're going to go there in presence full force," Barnett said.
The group walked together with signs that read "Release the Dash Cam" and "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"We're asking that the city release that dash cam and let the community and the public make their own decision on what happened," Barnett said.
Mrs. Ferrell texted Barnett, "They know who my God is." She told him to make sure everything was peaceful.
The defense asked the judge not to refer to Ferrell as a victim. The judge agreed to refer to him as "Mr. Ferrell" or "deceased" throughout the trial on Friday.
"He is a victim. He got shot 10 times trying to run for help," Barnett said. "I was shocked that they destroyed the blood. I understand that they had taken the test and they have it on paper but to destroy the blood is kind of shocking to me."
Ferrell, an unarmed Charlotte man who had wrecked his car in the Reedy Creek community in northwest Charlotte, knocked on the front door of a house apparently seeking help. The woman inside frantically called 911 to report a home invasion.
Kerrick and three officers responded to the suspicious activity call and encountered Ferrell.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say Kerrick fired his gun 12 times, hitting Ferrell ten times. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter after the shooting.
"I'm very upset by the fact they want to initiate these motions at the last minute," Barnett said.