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Charlotte police chief disputes attorneys claim

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Jonathan A. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer after a wreck. Jonathan A. Ferrell was shot and killed by a Charlotte police officer after a wreck.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

The chief of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Wednesday contradicted the account of the fatal shooting of an unarmed man as related by the victim's attorney.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Chief Rodney Monroe spoke with the newspaper's editorial board. In revealing new information about the shooting, Monroe said a Taser fired by a second officer missed 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell.

Authorities said Ferrell was shot 10 times by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick after being involved in a single-car wreck. Police have said Ferrell may have been seeking help when he went to a home and knocked on the door, prompting a woman to call 911 because she thought he was trying to break in.

Monroe also told the editorial board that the first shots were fired from "a couple of feet," and there was physical contact between Kerrick and Ferrell after the first shots had been fired.

The chief said that even if Ferrell didn't stop running toward Kerrick, deadly force wasn't justified. Ferrell was unarmed, and both Monroe and Ferrell family attorney Chris Chestnut said that was clear. Chestnut said Ferrell had his hands outstretched, and they were empty.

Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in Ferrell's death. He is free on $50,000 bond as he awaits his trial.

An attorney representing Kerrick backed up Monroe's account at a news conference. Attorney George Laughrun told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he watched the dashboard video and said officers told Ferrell to stop at least three times before Kerrick fired.

Laughrun said the video "clearly shows the shooting was justified" and that Kerrick fired because Ferrell didn't obey the verbal commands.

Even if Ferrell was physically larger than Kerrick, that didn't justify shooting him, Monroe told the editorial board.

"We have women on the force outweighed every day. That doesn't give them instant justification to use deadly force," Monroe said.

Chestnut said Tuesday that he watched the dash cam video and said it showed that Kerrick fired four shots, then paused. Moments later, the officer fired six more rounds and paused again before firing the last two shots, he said.

Chestnut could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

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