When the city of Charlotte in May settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the police shooting of Jonathan Ferrell for a record-high $2.25 million, officials never explained why they struck the deal. Newly released depositions in the case give insight into the scrutiny that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police would have faced over how the department assesses officers' readiness to carry out deadly force, reports the Charlotte Observer. Federal Judge Graham Mullen ordered that no one disclose material from the police investigative file and the depositions in the civil suit because of the impending criminal trial of officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, which is now underway.
The Observer asked the judge presiding over Kerrick's trial for the depositions, and he released partially redacted depositions of three majors. They testified that the department did not keep records on how well officers performed in video training simulations in use of force situations. They also said the unit charged with looking into misconduct allegations did not fully track information from an early intervention system meant to identify officers who show troubling patterns of behavior. In its civil suit, the Ferrell family held the city accountable for Kerrick's actions. The lawsuit accused the department of failing to adequately train and supervise officers in the use of force. It said the department had a “long and extensive history of excessive force by its officers.” “Given the questionable shootings they have had, one would think they would want to address could we handle this better and how can we do this better,” Charles Monnett, the Ferrell family’s attorney, told the Observer.