Jonathan Ferrell's fiancee asks CMPD to release dashboard video of shooting

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During a press conference Tuesday, the fiancee of Jonathan Ferrell - the black man fatally shot by a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in September - asked CMPD to release the dashboard video of the incident.

With the family's attorney Christopher Chestnut on her right, Cache Heidel said she couldn't understand why, despite promises made to her and Ferrell's family by the CMPD, the video hadn't been released to the public but a recording of the 911 call had. Heidel, Chestnut and Ferrell's family have seen the video; the attorney said it was obvious Ferrell wasn't "erratic, aggressive or threatening."

"With the release of the 911 video, it kind of criminalizes Jon," Heidel said, "saying he was trying to break into the house."

Ferrell
  • Ferrell

The details of the night Ferrell was shot continue to unfold. What is known is the 24-year-old had been involved in a car accident in which he kicked through the back window of his future father-in-law's Toyota Camry to escape. Ferrell ran to a nearby home, presumably for help, and began banging on the door. Sarah McCartney opened the door, saw Ferrell, and immediately closed it. She then called 911.

A shaken McCartney, whose husband was working a shift as a nurse at a nearby hospital, told the operator she couldn't believe she had opened the door.

Two of the three responding officers pulled their Taser guns on Ferrell, who had adjusted his pants presumably to show he was unarmed. The Tasers missed, which is when officer Randall Kerrick unholstered his gun and fired six shots, paused, fired four more shots, paused, and then fired two more shots. Ten hit Ferrell.

Chestnut said warnings from police officers to "get down" came almost at the same time Kerrick fired his weapon.

"No reasonable human being, including Jonathan Ferrell, could have complied with those commands prior to [the] gunshots ringing," Chestnut said.

Chestnut said his office has requested video footage of the incident at least 12 times. When asked if the CMPD was possibly reserving the evidence for the trial, Chestnut responded by questioning why the 911 call had been released but the video - which, he argued, is public record - hadn't.

Civil rights groups and the media praised CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe for charging Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter just 19 hours after the incident. But Chestnut sounded leery of the department during the press conference.

"I think President Reagan said it best: Trust but verify. That's what we're trying to do. We want facts out in the public domain. Not part of them - all of them."

Toxicology reports that will show whether Ferrell was under the influence haven't returned. But Chestnut said their findings are "totally irrelevant," adding that before shooting, Kerrick was unaware of Ferrell's state.

"He never took the time to assess any of that before firing his gun," Chestnut said.

Heidel became emotional when she described her former fiance, whom she said was playful, humble and down to earth. She said she chose to be open to the media as part of her healing process but also to dispel doubts about Ferrell's character.

"He wasn't what everybody thinks he was," she said. "He was a really good guy."

CLARIFICATION: During the press conference Chestnut said the video is public record. But citing an N.C. General Statute, CMPD spokesman Robert Tufano said the video is not, in fact, public record.

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