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.)