CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Jury selection is beginning in the trial of a white Charlotte police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black man who was looking for help.
Prosecutors say Randall Kerrick fatally shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player, on Sept. 14, 2013. Kerrick was arrested the day of the shooting. He was later indicted for voluntary manslaughter, which carries a prison sentence of up to 11 years.
Prosecutors say the shooting was a case of excessive force, while defense attorneys say Kerrick acted in self-defense.
Prosecutors say Kerrick fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit Ferrell. While prosecutors say it was obvious Ferrell was not armed, Kerrick’s defense attorneys say that wasn’t clear.
Kerrick’s attorneys tried to get the case moved, saying extensive publicity makes it unlikely he can get a fair trial in Mecklenburg County. They say interest in the case has increased because of the national debate about race and aggressive police tactics.
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