Religious leaders from Charlotte and other areas of North Carolina met with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, asking him to reconsider his decision to forego a retrial for Randall Kerrick, after a hung jury created a mistrial for a voluntary manslaughter charge in the death of Jonathan Ferrell.
The clergy said in a release that they had an "impassioned conversation" with the Attorney General, but Cooper stuck with his decision to not retry the case.
The clergy sent a letter to Cooper emphasizing their belief that Kerrick should be retried. You can read the letter in its entirety below:
Friday, September 4, 2015
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper
North Carolina Department of Justice
RE: The decision not to retry Officer Randall Kerrick
Dear Attorney General Cooper:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. We asked the NC NAACP to join us. As members of the Charlotte community, we wanted to meet with you to discuss our concerns in relation to your decision to not retry Officer Randall Kerrick for the wrongful death of Jonathan Ferrell.
We understand that the city of Charlotte settled with the family in this case, but there is no amount of money that can justify the fact that Officer Kerrick used unreasonable force to shoot and kill an unarmed man. Testimony from this case has shown that Kerrick violated police department policies and because of his actions, he was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
We also understand that the jury was hung, by an 8 to 4 vote, that they were unable to pronounce a verdict and as a result, the court was forced to declare a mistrial. However, what we do not understand is why you feel that to retry this case would not yield a different result when our community believes and the law dictates that a retrial is in order. Yes, the jury in the first trial was unable to speak in one voice, but such a hung jury has not spoken for the Charlotte Community or the people of North Carolina. The loss of human life and the heartbreak of a family require a more just and wise response.
In the state of North Carolina where African Americans have a long history of being wrongfully convicted of murder and other crimes, we now see a case of the same legal system refusing to properly try an officer of the law for killing an unarmed black college student. We contend that your decision not to retry this case was made much too quickly.
We are concerned that the dash cam video was not put into proper perspective given our long experience with the racial stereotypes that young black men are a lethal danger to a society that is too often justified in taking his life for its own alleged protection. This standard is far too subjective and it results in a call for retrial that has become habitual.
We are also concerned that little to no weight was placed on the fact that the city settled the case with the family based on research that these type actions by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, although reported, were never investigated by external forces.
Finally, we are concerned that your quick decision not to submit the evidence of this case to a new jury sets a dangerous precedent that lends itself to continued issues of inequality in the criminal justice system.
In light of this history and our concerns, we call for you to reconsider and retry this case for the sake of this family and this community, and in the name of justice. We believe the decision not to do so is unconscionable. Too many times, too many mothers and wives have buried their sons and husbands.
Concerned Clergy of Charlotte and the greater North Carolina Community:
Mininster Corine Mack [Charlotte, NC]
Rev. Rodney Sadler [Charlotte, NC]
Bishop Dwayne Walker [Charlotte, NC]
Bishop Tonya Rawls [Charlotte, NC]
Rev. Donnie R. Garris [Charlotte, NC]
Rev. John Mendez [Winston Salem, NC]
Rev. Kojo Nantambu [Charlotte, NC]
Rev. Mike Broadway [Durham, NC]
Rev. Gregory K. Moss [Charlotte, NC]
Paul Msiza [South Africa]
Rev. Jimmy Hawkins [Durham, NC]
Rev. Glencie Rhedrick [Charlotte, NC]
Rev. Earl Johnson [Durham, NC]
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber [NC NAACP]
Rev. Michelle Laws [NC NAACP]