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Randall Kerrick resigns from CMPD, city reaches $170 thousand+ settlement

Published: Oct. 8, 2015 at 7:45 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2015 at 8:45 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The City of Charlotte has reached a separation agreement with Randall "Wes" Kerrick nearly two months after a mistrial in the criminal case against him in the death of Jonathan Ferrell.

"Randall Kerrick has resigned from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) effective Oct. 2, 2015. As part of the separation agreement, Kerrick will receive $112,935.98, subject to taxes and standard deductions," city officials said in a statement released Thursday.

The former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was initially charged with shooting and killing the unarmed Ferrell in September 2013. Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the case. A judge declared a mistrial after a hung jury was announced.

At the beginning of October, paperwork was filed to expunge Kerrick's record. Expunging Kerrick's record would mean completely removing charges.

According to the separation agreement, the city will also pay $8,181.05 to the NC Local Government Retirement System and $8,191.76 to the social security system, both of which are legally required.

Robert D. McDonnell, the attorney who represented Kerrick in the civil suit brought by Ferrell's family, will also be paid $50,630.80.

The total for the expenses comes to $179, 989.59.

City officials said they will not pay any legal expenses for Kerrick's criminal defense.

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Two years ago, Kerrick and other responding officers identified Ferrell as a possible burglary suspect after a woman called 911 overnight to report a stranger was banging on her door and trying to kick it in.

State prosecutors say Ferrell had been injured after wrecking his car and was seeking help at the woman's house when he was mistaken for a burglar. They argue Ferrell ran in Kerrick's direction after fearing for his life when another officer deployed his taser, with red laser beams pointing at Ferrell's chest.

The case against Kerrick was declared a mistrial on August 21.

"This agreement, which contains no admission of fault or liability, includes a release of all potential legal claims," officials said.

"According to City Attorney Robert Hagemann, with the outcome of the criminal proceedings, the city would likely be found liable for the expenses covered in the separation agreement if the matter was litigated," the release stated. "The agreement also releases the city from future liability and ends Kerrick's employment with CMPD."

"Wes Kerrick did not resign because of any wrong doing or misconduct," Kerrick's lawyers for the criminal trial stated in a release about his resignation. "As we have stated from the outset of this case, his actions on September 14, 2013, were justified under CMPD policy and North Carolina law.  Our belief was confirmed by the majority of the jurors during his criminal trial.  It is also evident in the Attorney General's decision not to retry the criminal case."

The statement continued, "Wes Kerrick and his family look forward to new endeavors and are eager to place this tragic chapter of their lives behind them."

Kerrick's defense lawyers Michael Greene and George Laughrun were paid for by the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"From the FOP's standpoint we support Wes and his decision, what he's agreed to.  I think a lot of people would have liked to seen more for Wes and his family, done for them," said Todd Walther, President of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police. 
Walther says now that Kerrick has actually resigned from CMPD, if Kerrick chooses to, he has the opportunity to work as a police officer somewhere else.

But Georgia Ferrell, Jonathan Ferrell's mother, says she prays Kerrick is never an officer again. She said he admitted he was afraid.

The city settled with Jonathan Ferrell's family before the trial and mistrial.  They received $2,250,000.  By phone, Georgia Ferrell reacted to Kerrick's settlement.

"No, I don't think he should have, not for murdering someone.  It's as if the city is paying him for murdering my child," Ferrell said.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said that a team of 6 prosecutors made the decision to not retry the case, because they believe a "retrial will not yield a different result."

The jury, who deliberated for four days, became a hung jury with a vote of 8-4 in the case. The jury was leaning more heavily towards a "not guilty" verdict.

In a letter to Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office said it planned to dismiss the charges against Kerrick after the mistrial was declared.

Laughrun says the paperwork to expunge Kerrick's record will take eight to ten weeks for the process to be completed.

On May 19, 2015, the City of Charlotte reached a settlement Jonathan Ferrell's family. In reaching that settlement, the city and the Ferrell family considered and recognized City Council's commitment to and actions taken regarding civil liberties and the council's investment in body-worn cameras for all CMPD officers. At that time, CMPD said the department "will also conduct an internal review of the shooting of Ferrell, as it does for all officer involved shootings."

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