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Mistrial Declared in US Police Officer's Manslaughter Trial

  • VOA News

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Deputies in North Carolina escort the family of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick from the courthouse following a mistrial in the Kerrick's trial, in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 21, 2015.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Deputies in North Carolina escort the family of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Randall Kerrick from the courthouse following a mistrial in the Kerrick's trial, in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 21, 2015.

A judge in the U.S. state of North Carolina declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the trial of a white police officer charged in the death of an unarmed black man.

The jury deliberated for more than three days before telling the judge they were deadlocked 8-4, and saw no possibility of reaching a verdict. The judge did not reveal which way the jury was leaning in the case against police officer Randall Kerrick.

Kerrick faced a charge of voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player for Florida A&M.

Police say Ferrell crashed his car on a dark road outside Charlotte and went to a nearby house and banged on the door seeking help. The resident thought Ferrell was trying to break in and called police.

Investigators say when police arrived at the scene a confrontation occurred, and Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell, 10 of which hit him.

Prosecutors said Kerrick should have used nonlethal force to subdue Ferrell, while the defense argued that the policeman's actions were consistent with his police department's training.

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

The case is one of several in the United States in which a white police officer has been accused of unjustly shooting an unarmed black man, sparking a national debate on the issue and calls for police reforms.

Police officers in Baltimore and South Carolina were charged earlier this year in the deaths of unarmed black men.

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