Jonathan Ferrell, an African American, was unarmed at the time he was shot. He had crashed his car, went to a house in the Bradfield Farms neighborhood and knocked on the door. The resident, Sarah McCartney, opened the door, saw Mr. Ferrell, slammed the door in his face and then called the police. During this time she set her house alarm off. For the ten minutes that she was on the phone with the operator she continually stated where Mr. Ferrell was in relation to her home. First on the lawn, then she stated that he was no longer in the yard since her motion sensor lights had gone out.
When the officers arrived they immediately drew guns on Mr. Ferrell. One trained his taser on Mr. Ferrell. It appeared in video that when Mr. Ferrell saw the red light of the taser on his chest he ran for an opening between two of the police cars. When Ferrell then ran towards them, one of the officers fired a taser at Ferrell and missed. Officer Randall Kerrick then opened fire on Ferrell, shooting him twelve times and killing him.
Although McCartney never alleged that Mr. Ferrell harmed her, made threatening statements, brandished a weapon or stole or vandalized her property, the officers ignored the crashed car on the roadway and assumed that Mr. Ferrell was dangerous.
At autopsy it was discovered that Mr. Ferrell had suffered a head injury in the car crash.
Mr. Ferrell is remembered as a college football player who played at Florida A&M.