Jonathan Ferrell may have been on his knees or ground when shot by police

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The family of an unarmed North Carolina man killed by 10 police bullets after he crashed his car and staggered to a nearby house for help has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The family of Jonathon Ferrell said autopsy results, showing a downward trajectory by most of the bullets, suggest that Ferrell was either on his knees or already on the ground when Officer Randall Kerrick fired most of his shots.

They say Ferrell never posed a threat to Kerrick or the two officers who showed up with him after a woman called 911.

“This was a murderer who was acting while on duty. Taxpayers were paying him, and he murdered someone,” Christopher Chestnut, a lawyer for the family, told NBC News. “We all deserve answers. The department needs answers.”

The suit, filed Monday in North Carolina Superior Court, names the officer, the city, the county and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe as defendants.

It seeks monetary damages, but Chestnut said another goal was to use subpoena power to force police to turn over records that have been withheld from the family. That includes police dash-cam video of the Sept. 14 confrontation, which has not been made public.

Ferrell, who was 24, played football for Florida A&M University, had recently moved to Charlotte and was engaged. His family has said he worked two jobs to put himself through school.

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