Tragedy befell Charlotte this weekend when Jonathan Ferrell, a 24-year-old former Florida A&M football player, was fatally shot by a CMPD police officer. Nineteen hours after the incident, Officer Randall Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter. Per the Charlotte Observer, "it was the first time in decades an officer had been charged with killing someone in the line of duty."
The speed of the decision to charge Kerrick stands in sharp contrast to prior officer-involved shooting investigations in recent years, which have taken weeks or months to resolve. Two experts in police use of force told the Observer they'd never seen a police officer charged so soon after a shooting.
UPDATE: Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation, released the following statement Monday afternoon:
The fatal shooting of Jonathan Ferrell by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer is profoundly tragic and deeply disturbing. As Chief Monroe stated this weekend, it is clear that the officer in question used excessive force. This tragic incident is a powerful reminder of why the citizens of Charlotte must have access to effective tools that will provide civilian review of police conduct and promote accountability within the department. There are two actions that Charlotte officials should take, without delay, to increase civilian oversight and make officers more accountable to the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect: First, the city should take immediate steps to reform its ineffectual Citizens Review Board, which in 15 years has held only four hearings and never once ruled against the police department or for a citizen complainant. Second, officials should treat any footage taken by the cameras now being worn by some CMPD officers to record their interactions with citizens as a public record and make these recordings accessible to the public. The citizens of Charlotte must be allowed to review the actions of their police officers in meaningful ways that will provide oversight, hold appropriate parties accountable, and make everyone in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area safer and more secure.