Dane McMillan | Correspondent

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police gunned down Jonathan A. Ferrell, an unarmed 24-year old, early Saturday morning. He had just survived a car accident and was searching for help when officer Randall Kerrick shot at him twelve times, after a Taser failed to stop Ferrell from approaching.

A former football player at Florida A&M University, Ferrell moved to Charlotte earlier this year and was engaged to be married. Saturday morning, at approximately 2:30, his car ran off the road, hitting some trees. Due to the nature of the wreck, according to police reports, Ferrell had to climb out of the back window of his vehicle.

The severity of his injuries from the accident is still unknown; after climbing through the back window, Ferrell was able to walk a half-mile to the nearest house.  He  “banged on the door viciously,” said Sarah McCartney, owner of the home. Frightened and not recognizing Ferrell, she activated her home alarm and called the police, wanting to “keep [her] 1-year-old son and [herself] safe.”

Police responded to the breaking and entering call and found Ferrell a short distance away from the home. Ferrell “charged” and “advanced” towards the officers. In an effort to stop him from approaching, the officers used a Taser. This was “unsuccessful,” and Ferrell kept running. Kerrick then fired at Ferrell twelve times, hitting him with ten shots. He died at the scene.

Kerrick has since been charged with voluntary manslaughter, after evidence revealed that his actions were “excessive.” He is now being held on a $50,000 bond.

We know this about Jonathan Ferrell: he was injured from a car accident, seeking help when he was identified as a threat. Injured and unarmed, he “charged” the Charlotte police officers and was subsequently stunned. When a Taser didn’t work, the injured and unarmed man was shot and killed.

Let’s face it. African-American men are frequently stereotyped as being “hostile” and “dangerous.” Police responded to the call from McCartney as if it were a breaking and entering, when this was the opposite case.

I don’t need to state the obvious. Society’s assumption is that African-American men have malicious intent in most actions. This mindset has got to stop.

This story is eerily similar to the 2009 death of Oscar Grant, who was hit with a Taser, shot and killed by a Bay Area police officer. His story was depicted in the 2013 critically acclaimed film Fruitvale Station. Both Ferrell and Grant were killed by police officers, both were African-American, and both were unarmed.

Although a lot of the details of this story have still yet to be revealed, I’m sure that this won’t have nearly the kind of impact that Trayvon Martin’s murder had. He was a teenager, and Ferrell was well into his 20s. Their ages shouldn’t have much significance, but people just won’t have the same kind of sympathy for an adult. However, the issue is still the same. Unarmed African-American men, or anybody for that matter, shouldn’t have to be afraid of being killed by a police officer. It’s that simple.

Stories like this may happen all over the place without being in the spotlight of national news. This time, however, it happened only three hours from campus.

Something needs to change.