A partial grand jury in North Carolina has decided not to indict Randall Kerrick, the officer who fatally shot Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013.
After meeting for eight hours on Tuesday, the jury reportedly submitted a document to the county clerk of the court, not only stating it would not indict the officer on the charge of voluntary manslaughter, but also attached a handwritten letter respectfully requesting the district attorney submit a bill of indictment for a lesser charge.
However, Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement that the decision was not made by a full grand jury, and that his office plans to resubmit the request as soon as possible.
"Today, our prosecutors learned that the grand jury that considered the indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter was less than a full panel. It would be in the best interest of justice to resubmit this case to a full grand jury, which we plan to do as soon as possible," Cooper said.
Officer Kerrick was charged after shooting Ferrell 10 times when authorities responded to a breaking and entering call. Ferrell who had been involved in an accident, was seeking help in a nearby neighborhood when a woman called the police, thinking he was a robber. Ferrell ran toward the officers, who tried to stop him with a Taser. Police said he continued to run toward them when Kerrick shot him. Ferrell died at the scene. Both the local NAACP chapter and Ferrell's family have questioned whether race played a role in the shooting.
An attorney for the Ferrell family told NBC Charlotte they were shocked by the news.
"I would describe it as suffocating," he said. "How do you describe that to a mom? This man emptied a clip into her son and now I have to tell her there's no indictment. If the jury had seen that dash cam video not only would there have been an indictment for manslaughter, but likely for a greater charge."
According to NBC Charlotte, neither Chestnut nor Kerrick's lawyers are aware of what evidence presented to the jury. It is also unclear as to whether the attorney general will resubmit the indictment seeking the same charge or a lesser one.
Local NAACP leaders have spoken out against the decision, saying they are outraged by the jury's move.
“We have to stand up and fight this kind of evil,” said Kojo Nantambu, Charlotte NAACP president. “For a jury to say that they can't find any reason to indict him, it's despicable, it's almost inhumane.”
The family has also filed a wrongful death suit against several parties involved in the 24-year-old's death, the lawsuit is still pending.