Charlotte Police Officer Who Killed Unarmed Man is a Former ACO

Some of you have likely seen news of the killing of a young man named Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte, NC on Saturday.  Mr. Ferrell was reportedly involved in a bad accident in which his car went down an embankment in the woods.  He was able to free himself from the wreck by climbing out the back window.  Mr. Ferrell walked 1/4 mile to the nearest home, most likely to ask for help, and the homeowner called police. Three Charlotte police officers arrived and spotted a man in the area who fit the description provided by the homeowner.  Mr. Ferrell reportedly ran towards the officers.

Officer Randall Kerrick, who had drawn his gun, fired 12 rounds at Mr. Ferrell, hitting him 10 times and killing him.  Mr. Ferrell was unarmed.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD issued a statement Saturday night indicating that evidence showed Officer Kendrick had used excessive force and fired his weapon needlessly.  Officer Randall Kendrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and is on paid administrative leave.

The Charlotte police department runs the local pet killing facility which has a notorious history of abuse.  WBTV in Charlotte reports that Officer Randall Kendrick started his work with the police department in 2010 as a pound employee, transferring the following year to the Hickory Grove division.  During fiscal year 2011, the Charlotte pound killed 11,790 animals.

As we have often discussed on the blog, pet killing not only harms pets, it harms people.  Pet killing facilities sometimes attract and provide cover for people who enjoy hurting defenseless beings.  Sometimes pet killing facilities create monsters by placing people in an environment rife with apathy and needless killing.  An animal shelter is supposed to be a safe haven where lost and homeless animals are protected during their time of need.  Instead in too many places, including Charlotte, they are little more than abusive killing facilities.

No one except Officer Kendrick can claim to know why, instead of protecting and serving Mr. Ferrell in his time of need, he needlessly killed him.  But the link between violence against animals and violence against people is well established.  And the parallel to a related pattern of behavior at the Charlotte pound is worth examining.

(Thanks Lisa for the link.)

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21 Comments

  1. PAID LEAVE, SHAMEFUL.!

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  September 17, 2013

    Attorney Christopher Chestnut said Officer Kerrick showed a “lack of humanity.”

    Yeah. Killing facilities attract them. Killing facilities make them.

    Look at the people working at MAS who didn’t even notice the dead puppy beside his grieving mother in the cage. That’s what these places create and feed. Our society as a whole will be SO MUCH BETTER when shelter reform happens everywhere.

    Reply
  3. FixCharlotte

     /  September 17, 2013

    Gee, I’m glad my “reign of terror” (LOL) as a volunteer at Charlotte ACC ended before I ran in to this guy. I spewed coffee all over my computer when I read he fired 12 rounds. Excessive force anyone?

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  September 17, 2013

      Seriously. Especially considering that neither of the other officers even drew their weapons.

      Reply
  4. doug williams

     /  September 17, 2013

    speechless.

    Reply
  5. Wow! Very interesting comparison. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  6. I hate to think the worst of people, but when I heard this guy was a former ACO, my first thought was, “Wonder how many animals he killed in THAT job?” Shameful

    Reply
  7. and now I’m wondering if the murdering Memphis Animal shelter workers have put in for transfers to the police dept…. this scares the crap out of me… all the above comment has my head spinning

    Reply
  8. vida

     /  September 17, 2013

    It is a chicken and egg question as well, is it that the officer had no empathy or was sadistic and so sought a job with handy victims or was he encouraged by the lack of empathy at the pound to lose what empathy he may have had? There was a study done that showed that empathy can be regained, perhaps there have been studies done on how/how easily or quickly it can be lost? The Milgram experiment and similar studies showed that a majority of people will be cruel if told to be so by someone in authority, I’d be interested in a study that followed up on that, how long did it last, did it spill over into the rest of the subjects lives etc. Maybe more importantly, why did those who refused to inflict pain on command do so, what set them apart and is it a quality we can encourage?

    Reply
    • One of the concerns for truly compassionate people in animal sheltering is compassion fatigue. Some shelters, including Memphis, offer counseling for the employees on this. I have wondered what effect compassion fatigue counseling has on those who lack compassion. For example, we know from court testimony that at at least 3 people who have worked at MAS in recent years were torturing pets for pleasure in the kill room. How did compassion fatigue counseling affect their behavior, if at all? What about the employees who witnessed the torture, said nothing and kept their jobs – how does compassion fatigue counseling affect their behavior?

      Reply
      • How can one without compassion in the first place have compassion fatigue?

      • vida

         /  September 18, 2013

        Now I want to look around and find accounts of what exactly compassion fatigue training consists of. I can only find places that offer the training telling the world it’s great. I wonder if it’s actually about how to continue to care when the system of cruelty seems overwhelming or whether is helps people not care so much?

      • Eucritta

         /  September 18, 2013

        I can’t be certain, but I think I may know the bare bones of it under a slightly different name, ‘caregiver burnout.’ Here’s a discussion of what’s recommended from WebMD:

        http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-recognizing-caregiver-burnout?page=2

        If you read the whole thing (I’ve linked page 2), you’ll note a rather large flaw I suspect is also relevant to a discussion of burnout and cruelty within an animal control facility: it’s tacitly assumed that the relationship, prior to fatigue, was not problematic in itself. Thus, I suspect it’s also assumed in ‘compassion fatigue training’ that a lack of compassion is not an issue, and I’d be surprised if it’s even discussed.

        Now I read through it again, I realize there’s another deep flaw: it assumes that the caregiver is sufficiently interested and self-reflective to benefit.

  9. wolfie

     /  September 17, 2013

    Paid leave, that is a crook of freaking crap. Why is he not behind bars where he belong, oh, that’s right he is like George Zimmerman, A cop can’t be looked up, they think they are above the law and can do what they want. That is total B/S, lock him up for murder and for for being stupid and for killing helpless animals as well. You people are disgusting, killing that many animals a year, totally worthless low life scum bags in my book.

    Reply
  10. I don’t understand why he fired 12 shots. I have a question. Was he in any of the wars?

    Reply
  11. Anne Thomas

     /  September 18, 2013

    A book was published recently, Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments, by Gina Perry, that reveals that the results of Milgram’s experiment were somewhat different from what was released to the public. The actual results were more complex and a bit less grim. You can read more about it here: http://www.npr.org/2013/08/28/209559002/taking-a-closer-look-at-milgrams-shocking-obedience-study

    Reply
  12. Jessica C

     /  September 18, 2013

    I heard about this story a couple days ago and I was pretty outraged, and still am now. Police officers in general are way too trigger-happy lately, not only with humans but also with pets. Ive seen videos of cops going into a drug dealers house, shooting dogs, almost shooting children that pop out of their rooms, and everything else. It was like a scene from them killing Osama Bin Laden or something. They need to have better training. So, anyway, it doesnt surprise me that if they are that bad at their jobs, that they dont care about shelters either. We need to re-do the system from the top down, not the bottom up.

    Reply

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