TIME North Carolina

North Carolina Cop Will Not Face Retrial for Fatal Shooting of Black Man

Police Shooting Charlotte randall kerrick
Davie Hinshaw—AP Police officer Randall Kerrick, left, and defense attorney Michael Greene listen during opening arguments at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte. N.C., on Aug. 3, 2015.

Randall Kerrick had been accused of voluntary manslaughter but was acquitted

(RALEIGH, N.C.) — North Carolina state attorneys have decided against retrying a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man after his trial ended last week in a deadlock.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery told the Mecklenburg County district attorney Friday of the state’s decision in the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick. He had been accused of voluntary manslaughter in the September 2013 death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player.

The jury in the case deadlocked with an 8-4 vote in favor of acquittal, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

Montgomery wrote to District Attorney Andrew Murray that state attorneys will submit dismissal papers to end the case. Montgomery says it’s the prosecutors’ “unanimous belief a retrial will not yield a different result.”

TIME North Carolina

Mistrial in Case of Police Officer Who Killed Unarmed Black Man

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick sits at the defense table during his manslaughter trial in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell on Sept. 14, 2013, along Reedy Creek Road. Ferrell was unarmed and shot 10 times. (Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer via AP, Pool)
Davie Hinshaw—AP Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall "Wes" Kerrick sits at the defense table during his manslaughter trial in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 17, 2015.

Randall Kerrick was accused of using deadly force when he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A North Carolina judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the case of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.

Judge Robert C. Ervin in Charlotte declared a mistrial Friday afternoon after four days of deliberations.

Ervin brought the racially diverse jury back into the Mecklenburg County courtroom around 4:10 p.m. and the foreman said he saw no possibility of reaching a verdict.

“Honestly, we have exhausted every possibility,” the foreman said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Randall Kerrick had faced up to 11 years in prison.

The jury had deliberated for four days.

Prosecutors said the 29-year-old Kerrick used deadly force when he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013. They say nonlethal force should have been used to subdue the former Florida A&M football player. Two officers with Kerrick didn’t fire their guns.

But Kerrick’s attorneys said the officer feared for his life when he shot and killed Ferrell while responding to a breaking-and-entering call.

The case was one of several in recent years that raised questions about police use of deadly force against black men.

Police say Ferrell wrecked his car on the morning of Sept. 14, 2013, went to a nearby house and banged on the door, apparently for help. The resident inside the home called police, and three officers responded. Investigators say one officer deployed his Taser without apparent effect on Ferrell before Kerrick fired 12 shots, 10 of which hit him. Kerrick was the only officer who fired his .40-caliber semiautomatic service weapon.

Kerrick testified that he repeatedly fired because Ferrell kept charging at him and he didn’t think his weapon was even working.

Holding back tears and in a quavering voice, Officer Randall Kerrick re-created the events, at one point yelling “Stop!” and “Get on the ground!” to a nearly packed courtroom.

Police training expert Dave Cloutier testified that Kerrick’s decision to shoot Ferrell was consistent with the department’s training.

Cloutier, who has served as an instructor at the North Carolina Justice Academy, said Kerrick was responding to a potentially dangerous 911 call: a report of a man breaking into a woman’s house.

However, Police Capt. Mike Campagna testified that the shooting violated department policy. He said nonlethal force should have been used to subdue Ferrell.

Kerrick’s attorneys have argued that Ferrell was moving quickly in the officer’s direction. They say Kerrick opened fire because he feared that Ferrell was going to attack him and take his gun.

Officer Adam Neal, who was also at the shooting scene, testified that he never considered pulling a weapon that night and instead viewed the situation as one that would require physical force to restrain the subject.

Defense attorneys targeted Ferrell’s condition at the time of the shooting, pointing to the fact that he had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol before the wreck that led to the deadly confrontation.

The Ferrell family has already settled a lawsuit with the city of Charlotte, receiving $2.25 million.

Ferrell was killed a little less than a year before an unarmed black man in New York and an unarmed 18-year-old black male in Ferguson, Missouri, died after separate violent encounters with police — cases that shined a national spotlight on how police departments treat minorities and sparked calls for widespread reforms. Protests and rioting followed Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and a grand jury’s refusal to indict the officer.

Protests also followed the deaths of two unarmed black men after encounters with police earlier this year in Baltimore and South Carolina. Officers have been charged in both of those cases. Kerrick’s trial, while packing the courthouse, has drawn little outside attention.

Unlike some other cases, the officer was arrested and charged about 12 hours after the shooting.

TIME North Carolina

Drugmaker Shuts Down Plant Over Legionnaires’ Bacteria

The same bacteria found in cooling tanks in the Bronx caused 12 deaths this summer

(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline shut down a plant Tuesday that produces inhaled medications after discovering the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

The manufacturing plant in Zebulon, about 25 miles east of Raleigh, was closed after routine testing found the bacteria in a self-standing cooling tower. About 400 of the 850 employees who work in Zebulon were told to stay away until the towers are cleaned, officials for the London-based company said.

The company said in a statement that the cooling tower “does not come into contact with product manufactured at the facility.” Glaxo did not respond to questions about whether there was any risk of indoor exposure to employees or medicines from water droplets that could carry the bacteria.

“We are trying to gather information on what the situation is,” spokeswoman Jenni Brewer Ligday said. “It was found during routing testing, so we’re trying to get a better handle of how often those testings are conducted. Also more details on whether product has been impacted and, if they have, what is our procedure in place to handle that.”

The plant produces inhaled drugs like Advair, a drug for asthma, and contracts with other pharmaceutical companies to produce their drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration was checking into reports of the bacteria’s discovery and a spokesman said all questions should be directed to GlaxoSmithKline.

State and county health officials said they were not aware of any Legionnaire’s disease cases associated with the Glaxo facility, adding that most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not become ill.

The same bacteria found in cooling tanks in the Bronx section of New York City caused 12 Legionnaires‘ disease deaths this summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 8,000 to 18,000 Americans are hospitalized with the illness annually.

People can contract Legionnaires‘ disease when they inhale water vapor or mist containing the bacteria, the CDC said. It does not spread from person to person, the agency said.

TIME North Carolina

North Carolina Woman Attacked by Ax-Wielding Clown

The attack happened at 4:30 a.m.

Nightmares can come true: a woman in North Carolina told police she was attacked in her home by an ax-wielding clown.

The victim told the police in Hickory, N.C. that a person wearing a clown mask and a multicolored wig had come by her residence at 4:30 a.m. Friday morning and began to swing his ax at her.

The victim was able to take the mask off the attacker and discover that it was an acquaintance of hers, who then fled the scene. She was not injured in the incident.

Hickory Police Department spokesperson Chrystal Dieter told TIME that there was an “outstanding warrant” against the suspect.

“Any law enforcement officer who comes in contact with the suspect in question will have full ability to arrest him,” Dieter said.

Dieter could not recall any previous cases of attackers masquerading as clowns. But the Hickory attacker would not be the first person to draw on the cultural image of the “creepy clown.” The town of Northampton, England has previously reported sightings of an individual dressed as the clown who roamed the streets and scared citizens.

MONEY Small Business

This Innkeeper Went From No Job to Dream Job

Selena Einwechter, innkeeper at North Carolina's Bed & Breakfast on Tiffany Hill, explains how she launched her dream business.

TIME Education

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to Grads: Happiness Is a Goal of Life

Cheryl Boone Isaacs gave this commencement speech at University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts I was first exposed to movies in the 1960s, which was one of the most creative and exhilarating periods in the history of film.

The young filmmakers and artists of that period were daring and brash and influenced by the social forces that were transforming society in such films as To Kill A Mockingbird, In The Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and A Hard Day’s Night.

One of my favorite films from that era was 1961’s West Side Story. At the time, my brother Ashley was an executive at United Artists, which released the film. I remember my family getting all dressed up to drive to New York to attend the premiere. And when the film won an Academy Award for Best Picture, and when cast members Rita Moreno and George Chakiris won Oscars, I was ecstatic.

When I graduated from high school, I thought I was going to work for the government. I went to college with the vision of working for the United States Information Agency and a career in public diplomacy.

After graduation from college, I decided to take time off from school, and took a number of different jobs including being a stewardess for Pan American World Airways.

But at age 25, I sat down and had an honest conversation with myself. I wanted to do something I love in a world that I loved, which was the film industry.

Little did I dream then that someday I would be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, much less its President.

The Academy is made up of more than 7,000 men and women working in film around the world, and led by a Board of Governors representing 17 different branches of the industry that include Directors, Actors, Editors, Cinematographers and public relations, which is the branch for which I’ve served as a Governor for 22 years.

The Academy’s mission today is largely the same as it was when I became a member in 1987, and when it was founded 87 years ago: to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.

As an Academy, we celebrate creative artists who are pushing the boundaries of cinema — men and women whose accomplishments touch people’s hearts and capture the world we live in.

Every year at the Oscars we honor the courage of filmmakers who cross borders and test boundaries, who give voice to challenging ideas and alternative points of view, and who encourage us to see the world and those around us in new ways.

As you embark on the next phase of your careers in the arts, I hope you will carry that torch, tell the truth about the world as you perceive it and change the narrative.

As the world becomes smaller and more globally connected, you as artists also have a responsibility to protect freedom of expression and ensure that no one’s voice is silenced by threats, violence or prejudice, and that different opinions can be shared without fear of personal or professional attack.

I want you all to follow your passion. There may be detours, but just keep moving forward. Stay focused on your goals and dreams.

Happiness is a goal of life.

In my years in the film industry, as a marketing and public relations executive both at major studios and independent companies, I have had to learn to maneuver both sides of the show business equation — the show side and the business side.

As creative artists nowadays, it’s incumbent on you to understand the business of the arts and the different funding channels available to you. A career in the arts does not guarantee financial stability, but if you’re smart about finding ways to monetize the work you love, the rewards will be immense.

I also urge you to give back to the community through the nonprofit sector.

In my career, I’ve also been lucky to serve as an artist in residence and university professor, to support programs for public schools in Los Angeles, to bring arts education to the under-served community and at-risk youth.

There are so many youngsters who haven’t had the opportunity to explore the arts. And as people have helped you, in your journey, I hope that you will support arts education for under-served youth.

In our ever-changing world there are countless opportunities available to your generation, more so than ever before.

With all of technology’s advancements one thing that has not changed is the human love of storytelling — whether it is music, painting, literature, dance or film.

It’s a thrill to stand here alongside you as you embark on this exciting next chapter of your lives. And I offer my very best wishes that you can bring the light of humanity and inspiration that you found here at UNC School of the Arts to the world around you.

This article was originally published by The Academy on Medium

TIME Accident

Shark Strikes Yet Again in North Carolina

This is the seventh for the state this summer

A man was attacked by a shark on Wednesday near Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, the seventh reported attack in the state since May.

The man was swimming in front of a lifeguard stand when he was pulled under water by a seven foot shark, FOX8 reports. He was able to swim out of the water and to safety, but is currently suffering from injuries to his rib cage, hip, hands and lower leg.

The new attack is now the seventh reported in North Carolina in just June and July. South Carolina has also been experiencing recent shark attacks.

Some experts say warmer water temperatures may be a contributing factor to the increase.

 

TIME Crime

Another Black Church Burns in the South, the 8th in 10 Days

#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches trended on Twitter throughout the week

Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a prominent African-American church in Greeleyville, S.C., caught fire late Tuesday. It is the eighth black church in the Southern U.S. to burn in 10 days.

Greeleyville, about 60 miles northwest of Charleston, S.C., has seen similar fires before, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. Mount Zion was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995, part of a string of 30 fires in black churches that spanned two years.

An investigation into the fire’s cause will begin after it is safely extinguished, chief of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Mark Keel told the Post and Courier. He noted that the thunderstorm that pounded the town of 375 on Tuesday evening could have ignited the church. Meteorologist Pete Mohlin of the National Weather Service told the paper that there was a lot of lightning in the area around 7 p.m., but he could not say if it had caused the fire.

Parishioners across the South are surveying the damage that a string of similar fires has caused this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, starting in Knoxville, Tenn., on June 21 and moving to Macon, Ga., and Gibson County, in Tennessee, on June 23; Charlotte, N.C., on June 24; Elyria, Ohio, on June 25; and Tallahassee, Fla., and Warrenville, S.C., on June 26.

Three of those fires have been ruled arson, one was determined to be caused by a falling branch and faulty wiring, and the others remain under investigation. Several have been blamed preliminarily on lightning; weather in the South this week has been turbulent.

State senator Cezar McKnight was on the scene as the fire continued to burn at 10 p.m. “South Carolina has been through a lot the last two weeks, and we’ve made the best of a terrible situation,” he said. “I would hate for this to be something somebody did on purpose to try to poison the love and fellowship.”

The Post and Courier recalled that then President Bill Clinton visited Mount Zion after it was rebuilt following the 1995 attack. His remarks at its dedication have resonance still:

“The men and women of Mount Zion have shown us the meaning of these words by refusing to be defeated and by building up this new church. Others have come together with you,” Clinton said on June 12, 1996. “The pastor told me he got contributions from all over the world to help to rebuild this church. In just a few days we’ll have a joyful noise coming out of this church … I want to ask every citizen, as we stand on this hallowed ground together, to help to rebuild our churches, to restore hope, to show the forces of hatred they cannot win.”

[Post and Courier]

TIME Accident

2 More Shark Attacks Reported in the Carolinas

Two men were attacked on Friday

Two new shark attacks were reported in North Carolina and South Carolina on Friday.

According to The Charlotte Observer, a 47-year-old man was bitten by a shark in Avon, N.C. and was being treated for leg and lower back injuries. Also on Friday, a man was bitten by a shark while swimming off of Hunting Island in South Carolina.

The latest shark bites come after four other recent attacks in North Carolina. On June 14, a 16-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl were both attacked by sharks within an hour and a half of each other in Oak Island, N.C. Both kids lost part of their arms.

Though the recent cases are certainly a nerve-wracking trend for beach-goers, shark attacks are still considered rare. None of the attacks in the U.S. in the past year were fatal. Sixty-five percent of the them involved surfers or people doing board sports and 32% involved people who were swimming.

 

TIME North Carolina

Shark Attack Victim Who Lost Arm ‘Didn’t See It Coming’

The teen first noticed the shark when he felt it bite his leg

One of two young shark attack victims to lose an arm in separate encounters in North Carolina over the weekend said he “didn’t see it coming.”

In comments released by 16-year-old Hunter Treschl’s family via New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the teen said he felt the shark bite his leg, “and then I saw that it had attacked my arm because it was out of the water a little bit.”

Treschl and a 12-year-old girl both lost their left arms to shark bites in separate incidents about two miles apart in Oak Island, North Carolina, on Sunday.

The attacks also…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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