Mistrial declared in police officer's manslaughter trial

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Mistrial Declared After Jury Deadlocks in Kerrick Trial

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the case of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.

Judge Robert C. Ervin in Charlotte declared a mistrial Friday afternoon after four days of deliberations.

Ervin brought the racially diverse jury back into the Mecklenburg County courtroom around 4:10 p.m. and the foreman said he saw no possibility of reaching a verdict.

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Charlotte officer Randall Kerrick kills unarmed Jonathan Ferrell - September 2013
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Mistrial declared in police officer's manslaughter trial
Willie Ferrell, left, joins attorney Christopher Chestnut, center, his mother, Georgia Ferrell, right, and other family members at a media conference to talk about the killing of his brother, Jonathan Ferrell on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C. Police were called Sept. 14, after the former Florida A&M University football player knocked on the door of a home near the car crash he was in. Ferrell was hit with a Taser as he approached officers and then shot, resulting in a voluntary manslaughter charge against one of the officers. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Georgia Ferrell, holds on to a stuffed bear she said she promised to give her son, Jonathan Ferrell's first born child during a media conference on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C. Police were called Sept. 14, after the former Florida A&M University football player knocked on the door of a home near the car crash he was in. Ferrell was hit with a Taser as he approached officers and then shot, resulting in a voluntary manslaughter charge against one of the officers. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Flowers and balloons, along with spray-painted police markings on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C., show the spot where Jonathan Ferrell was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. Officer Randall Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter and investigators said Ferrell, who was unarmed, was shot 10 times. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
This undated photo provided by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office shows Randall Kerrick. Jonathan Ferrell was shot to death by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick. He was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter and his trial is scheduled to start on Monday, July 20, 2015 . Investigators say Kerrick shot Ferrell, who was unarmed, 10 times during an investigation of a possible home invasion. (Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Georgia Ferrell, right, mother of Jonathan Ferrell, arrives for a news conference with her son William Ferrell, left, on the first day of the trial of former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick, in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, July 20, 2015. Investigators say Kerrick shot Jonathan Ferrell, who was unarmed, 10 times during an investigation of a possible home invasion. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick sits at the defense table during his manslaughter trial in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell on Sept. 14, 2013, along Reedy Creek Road. Ferrell was unarmed and shot 10 times. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Police officer Randall Kerrick, left, and defense attorney Michael Greene listen during opening arguments at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte. N.C., Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Kerrick is facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Police officer Randall Kerrick listens during his trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Kerrick is facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department crime scene investigator C.L. Price holds a pocket knife during day two of officer Randall Kerrick's trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Kerrick is facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Crime scene investigator C.L. Price holds a pair of shoes during day two of police officer Randall Kerrick's trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. Officer Kerrick faces voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Crime scene investigator K.C. Nyx testifies during day three of testimony at the trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of Jonathan Ferrell, who was killed early on the morning of Sept. 14, 2013, while seeking help after a car crash. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
A evidence photograph of possible blood droplets is displayed during day four of officer Randall Kerrick's trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Police Officer Adam Neal demonstrates how Jonathan Ferrell was "clawing" while testifying during day four of officer Randall Kerrick's trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is facing voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick Randall displays the boots he was wearing the night of the shooting during his voluntary manslaughter trial, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black man has testified in his own defense Thursday, following witnesses who quoted him as saying he thought his life was in danger. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick wipes away a tear as he testifies during his voluntary manslaughter trial, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell in September of 2013. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police scientist Eve Rossi testified that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick's DNA was found under the fingernails of Jonathan Ferrell's left hand and that Ferrell's DNA was discovered on Kerrick's handgun during testimony Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Ferrell, an unarmed black man seeking help after a September 2013 car crash. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin speaks to the jury after they announced that they are deadlocked during the fourth day of deliberations in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick's trial, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell in September of 2013. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Carrie Kerrick, wife of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick, sits with family and supporters during the fourth day of deliberations in Kerrick's trial, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Charlotte, N.C. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of former Florida A&M football player Jonathan Ferrell in September of 2013. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
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"Honestly, we have exhausted every possibility," the foreman said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Randall Kerrick had faced up to 11 years in prison.

The jury had deliberated for four days.

Prosecutors said the 29-year-old Kerrick used deadly force when he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013. They say nonlethal force should have been used to subdue the former Florida A&M football player. Two officers with Kerrick didn't fire their guns.

But Kerrick's attorneys said the officer feared for his life when he shot and killed Ferrell while responding to a breaking-and-entering call.

The case was one of several in recent years that raised questions about police use of deadly force against black men.

Police say Ferrell wrecked his car on the morning of Sept. 14, 2013, went to a nearby house and banged on the door, apparently for help. The resident inside the home called police, and three officers responded. Investigators say one officer deployed his Taser without apparent effect on Ferrell before Kerrick fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit him. Kerrick was the only officer who fired his .40-caliber semiautomatic service weapon.

Kerrick testified that he repeatedly fired because Ferrell kept charging at him and he didn't think his weapon was even working.

Holding back tears and in a quavering voice, Officer Randall Kerrick re-created the events, at one point yelling "Stop!" and "Get on the ground!" to a nearly packed courtroom

Police training expert Dave Cloutier testified that Kerrick's decision to shoot Ferrell was consistent with the department's training.

Cloutier, who has served as an instructor at the North Carolina Justice Academy, said Kerrick was responding to a potentially dangerous 911 call: a report of a man breaking into a woman's house.

However, Police Capt. Mike Campagna testified that the shooting violated department policy. He said nonlethal force should have been used to subdue Ferrell.

Kerrick's attorneys have argued that Ferrell was moving quickly in the officer's direction. They say Kerrick opened fire because he feared that Ferrell was going to attack him and take his gun.

Officer Adam Neal, who was also at the shooting scene, testified that he never considered pulling a weapon that night and instead viewed the situation as one that would require physical force to restrain the subject.

Defense attorneys targeted Ferrell's condition at the time of the shooting, pointing to the fact that he had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol before the wreck that led to the deadly confrontation.

The Ferrell family has already settled a lawsuit with the city of Charlotte, receiving $2.25 million.

Ferrell was killed a little less than a year before an unarmed black man in New York and an unarmed 18-year-old black male in Ferguson, Missouri, died after separate violent encounters with police - cases that shined a national spotlight on how police departments treat minorities and sparked calls for widespread reforms. Protests and rioting followed Michael Brown's death in Ferguson and a grand jury's refusal to indict the officer.

Protests also followed the deaths of two unarmed black men after encounters with police earlier this year in Baltimore and South Carolina. Officers have been charged in both of those cases. Kerrick's trial, while packing the courthouse, has drawn little outside attention.

Unlike some other cases, the officer was arrested and charged about 12 hours after the shooting.

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