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Lawyer seeks video in North Carolina police shooting of unarmed man

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - The lawyer for the family of an unarmed man killed by a North Carolina police officer is seeking the release of more evidence in the case, including video footage from a patrol car that recorded part of the fatal encounter, he said on Tuesday.

Lawyer Chris Chestnut said the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's refusal to make the video public raised questions about the integrity of the investigation into the September shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell.

"We want the facts out in the public domain. Not part of them, all of them," Chestnut said at a news conference in Charlotte, where he was joined by Ferrell's fiancee.

Police officials said the footage from the patrol car's dashboard camera is not public record and will not be released during the investigation that led to the arrest of Officer Randall Kerrick on a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Kerrick was among the officers who last month responded to a late-night 911 call from a panicked woman who said she thought an unfamiliar man knocking at her door in the middle of the night was trying to break in.

It was later determined that Ferrell, a former Florida A&M University football player, had wrecked his car about half a mile away from the woman's home and, according to police, had likely knocked on her door in an effort to find help.

After calling 911, the woman watched as police searched her house and then went up the street. It was then, police say, that three officers found Ferrell, who ran toward them. When one officer's Taser did not stop Ferrell's advance, Kerrick fired his gun 12 times, hitting Ferrell 10 times, according to police.

Police said Kerrick's response was "excessive."

Attorneys for Kerrick said his actions were justified.

The racial overtones of the case have drawn the attention of civil rights activists; Ferrell was black and Kerrick is white.

On Tuesday, Chestnut questioned why the police department released a tape of the 911 call that triggered the incident but not the patrol car video.

Chestnut, who has viewed the footage caught by one of the patrol cars that responded to the 911 call, said it would put to rest any suggestion that Ferrell acted erratically or aggressively toward the officers.

"You can't just release the facts that are favorable perhaps to the officer but not to Mr. Ferrell," Chestnut said.

"We're beginning to get concerned about the integrity and the efficiency and, quite frankly, the speed of this investigation," he added.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent probe into the officer-involved shooting, a spokeswoman for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

Cooper's office is handling the criminal case against Kerrick at the request of the local district attorney.

"Dash cam video is not the kind of information we are typically able to share from ongoing criminal investigations," Cooper spokeswoman Jennifer Canada said.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; editing by Andrew Hay)

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