Aug 23, 2015 12:27 AM

Juror: Defense put police officer's shooting victim on trial

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Defense attorneys representing a white North Carolina police officer put the unarmed black man he shot and killed on trial, a juror in the case said Saturday.

"The defense, knowing certain things, knew it had to use sleight of hand and point in another direction," said Moses Wilson, one day after the judge hearing the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick declared a mistrial when the jury was deadlocked 8-4.

Wilson declined to reveal details of what went on in the jury room during its three days of deliberations. He said the prosecution presented a case that should have stood, but the defense put Jonathan Ferrell on trial for not knowing what to do to avoid being beaten or shot to death.

"It became, not what he did, or what they did to him, but more, what he didn't do, what he should have known what to do, so that the police would not have had to beat him silly or shoot him," Wilson said.

Kerrick fired 12 shots at Ferrell, hitting him 10 times after he and two other officers responded to a breaking and entering call.

Wilson said there were no fights among the jurors, but instead expressions of frustration. He credited the jury foreman for keeping arguments among the jurors from becoming too heated.

Meanwhile, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police planned for multiple events while keeping an eye on protests following the mistrial declared on Friday.

Police Chief Kerr Putney told a news conference that officers were monitoring several events in Uptown Charlotte, among them a Carolina Panthers preseason football game, a minor league baseball game, two high school football games and a road race. People protesting Friday's decision in the Kerrick trial.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Saturday's protests were peaceful passionate. On Friday, peaceful demonstrations immediately after the decision turned aggressive that evening. Some people threw rocks at police, and there were two arrests for assaulting officers. Putney said the officers suffered minor injuries.

"They were seeing and hearing all kinds of things that we probably would prefer not to see and hear," Putney said of his officers. "But they acted appropriately, and I think it was because of the reps they were given in their training leading up to what we saw last night."

Immediately after the mistrial was announced, demonstrators staged a "die-in" on the street adjacent to the courthouse. Police blocked the street to traffic to allow the demonstration to proceed without seriously disrupting the evening rush-hour.

"We're going to facilitate them as we always have. We encourage people to get their message out, as long as they're within the laws," Putney said.

Asked how many officers were deployed to handle the protests, the chief said, "We're going to use the appropriate number."

"We're going to have officers, lots and lots of officers, as always" he said. "On foot, bicycles, motorcycles and cars. If we had horses, we'd put them on horses as well."

Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte and one of the Friday demonstrators, commended police for permitting the peaceful protest.

"That's the kind of relationship and cooperation that the community has with this police department," Hough said. "I don't think you would see this in most major cities."

He said the escalation of the Friday protest was the result of younger people who hadn't joined the previous demonstrations and acted out. Hough said he encountered some young people who joined them but had no idea what it was about. He said he had to explain to some people the case of Jonathan Ferrell, the man who Kerrick shot 10 times after responding to a breaking and entering call.

Hough said he expects the mistrial will help increase activism in Charlotte, especially among young people and hopefully without the need to throw rocks.

"The youth, a lot of them are waking up," he said. "They need to be counseled and have their energy channeled in a proper direction."


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