Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What exactly is a wrongful death claim?”
Jonathan Ferrell’s surviving family members have filed a wrongful death suit against the officer who shot him as well as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in an attempt to ensure that those responsible for the grisly encounter that left Ferrell dead are held accountable for their actions.
The terrible incident began back in September when Ferrell, who used to play football for Florida A&M and recently moved to Charlotte to be with his fiancé, was driving a co-worker home. After dropping his colleague off, Ferrell was involved in a serious accident that left his car trapped in a ravine. Ferrell had to kick his way out of the badly damaged vehicle and went in search of help for his own serious injuries.
Ferrell walked more than a half-mile uphill until he found the home of a young mother whose husband was away at work. The woman, startled by Ferrell’s appearance, mistakenly believed he was there to break into the house and called 911, asking for police help. Officers arrived and this is when things went terribly wrong.
According to statements made by Officer Kerrick, Ferrell charged the officers, forcing them to open fire. However, a police investigation determined that Kerrick acted hastily and used excessive force. The wrongful death suit claims that Ferrell, who was disoriented, was in the process of lying down when Kerrick opened fire, shooting 12 bullets, eight of which struck Ferrell in the chest. The trajectory of the wounds show that Ferrell was either laying down or kneeling when he was shot, further calling into question the actions of the officers.
Court documents also accuse the officers of failing to follow standard procedure, first by not announcing their presence and then by sneaking up on Ferrell with their guns already drawn. These mistakes are part of what the family argues is a pattern of dangerous conduct by Charlotte police officers who have not been screened or trained properly before being given deadly weapons. The suit says that a series of questionable police shootings stretch back for several decades and that it is high time the department is held accountable for its shortcomings.
Though no amount of money could ever repair the damage done to Ferrell’s family, the hope is that by drawing attention to the case, other families can be spared similar pain in the future. If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Jonathan Ferrell’s family files suit in shooting death,” by Michael Gordon, published at CharlotteObserver.com.
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