CHARLOTTE, NC- While family and friends held Jonathan Ferrell’s funeral in Florida Saturday, dozens gathered for a memorial service for him in Charlotte.
The group “True Healing Under God,” or T.H.U.G., held the service at Temple Church International in West Charlotte to honor the life of Ferrell who was shot and killed by a CMPD officer earlier this month.
“It’s tragic and it didn’t have to happen. We’re all here as a testament to that,” said Matthew Newton, a criminal defense attorney.
The mother of Aaron Winchester, a 21-year-old Charlotte man shot and killed by a CMPD officer in 2008, was in the crowd.
“Police brutality has got to end today. It doesn’t need to go on any further. There are enough of our children buried in the ground and we have no justification for it,” said Winchester.
Winchester says the shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell is a reminder that black males are losing their lives too early because of police force.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Officer Randall Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter after he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell on Septermber 14. Evidence revealed that Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick however authorities say the officer did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon.
Detectives say the investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick fired his weapon 12 times and struck Ferrell 10 times resulting in his death.
Investigators believe Ferrell was trying to get help after wrecking his car on Reedy Creek Road.
Speakers at the memorial are calling for harsher charges against CMPD officer Randall Kerrick- who they believe killed Ferrell without justification.
“He was engaged to get married. That’s why he came to Charlotte so I want to see the charges changed to something more severe,” said Patrick Pope, a Southwest Charlotte resident.
Many who held back tears and gripped their loved ones say the death of Ferrell is personal – even though they didn’t know him.
“I never knew him, but to me, he’s my child like Trayvon Martin. Same thing- I’m not even over that yet,” said Sandy Clory, a North Charlotte resident.
“It has to end and justice has to come forward,” said Winchester.