City calls $2.25 million lawsuit settlement 'fair and equitable'

City calls $2.25 million lawsuit settlement 'fair and equitable'
Jonathan Ferrell
Jonathan Ferrell
Randall Kerrick
Randall Kerrick

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The City of Charlotte has reached a settlement in a civil suit with the family of Jonathan Ferrell and will pay the family $2.25 million.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick is accused of fatally shooting Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013. Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Mayor Dan Clodfelter and City Attorney Bob Hagemann said the settlement was "fair and equitable" and said it was unanimously approved by the Charlotte City Council.

"We are grateful that this case has been resolved, but it is devastating to know that nothing we do will ever bring Jonathan back. Our faith in God and the power of prayer are the only things that have gotten us through this tragic situation," Georgia Ferrell, mother of Jonathan Ferrell, said in a statement.

"Jonathan was the salt of the earth; an outstanding person who brought tremendous joy to so many. We remain hopeful that Jonathan's death will ultimately result in permanent changes to law enforcement attitudes, policies and procedures-- not only within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, but within every other police department throughout the country."

Clodfelter began his statement by expressing his sympathies to the Ferrell family who has handled the situation with "grace" and acknowledged that "money can not fully compensate for the loss of a loved one."

He said Ferrell's family has expressed a strong interest in working with the city to work with police and the community with hopes that "out of the family tragedy can come healing."

"Citizens need to know that those who serve them are willing to learn and adjust," Clodfelter said and briefly spoke about new programs and initiatives that will "help Charlotte maintain bonds of trust."

"Jonathan's death remains a tragedy of the highest order and our mission has always been to ensure that no other innocent person unnecessarily loses their life to police violence," Georgia Ferrell said. "To help achieve this objective, part of the proceeds from this settlement will be used to launch the Justice for Jonathan Foundation, whose purpose is to help law enforcement and the community better understand one another."

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 when Ferrell knocked frantically called 911 to report a home invasion.

Kerrick and three other 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.

"We wish to acknowledge the professionalism that Chief Rodney Monroe has demonstrated in handling the difficult circumstances of Jonathan's death," Georgia Ferrell said. "Chief Monroe acted swiftly and decisively once it became clear from the dash-cam video that the use of deadly force against Jonathan was not justified. We are appreciative of the respect he has shown our family throughout this process."

Clodfelter emphasized that the civil case has no implications in the criminal case involving Ferrell's death and says the settlement does not hold the city at fault.

The settlement will have no effect on the current budget, according to Hagemann, who expects the payment to be made "within a matter of days." The criminal case is ongoing.

"We will now focus our attention on the upcoming criminal trial of Randall Kerrick. We have complete confidence in Attorney General Roy Cooper and Special Prosecutor Adren Harris, and know that they will do everything in their power to secure a conviction in this case," Ferrell's mother said. "As always, we will never waver in our quest for justice for Jonathan and for all other victims of police misconduct."

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