District Attorney: Officers justified in killing AR teen

District Attorney: Officers justified in killing AR teen
Aries Clark (Source: Facebook)
Aries Clark (Source: Facebook)

CRITTENDEN COUNTY, AR (WMC) - Arkansas prosecutors determined the two officers who shot and killed a 16-year-old in Crittenden County were justified in their actions.

Officers Brannon Hinkle and Wesley Smith shot and killed Aries Clark, 16, on July 25, 2017.

Clark was standing outside East Arkansas Youth Services, which is an emergency shelter for juveniles.

Employees at the facility called police because Clark was trying to get inside the facility. Clark was previously assigned to the facility, but he left without permission.

Investigators said it is common practice for employees to call police if a person who left the facility without permission returns unexpectedly. The facility said the reason for that is so police officers can make sure the juveniles do not have any drugs or weapons.

After reviewing body camera video and radio dispatch recordings, investigators determined that Clark had a BB gun - although officers on scene did not know it was a BB gun at the time. Officers repeatedly told Clark to put the gun down, but he continued to disobey the commands.

Body camera video from four different angles sheds light on what happened during the standoff.

Click here to watch the body camera video.

Officers negotiated with Clark for more than 10 minutes.

"Have you been alright the last couple of days? I know you ran off. Are you alright - you need food or water? What you need, man?" one officer can be heard saying in one of the body camera videos.

When Clark turned to face one of the officers and pointed his BB gun at the officer, two of them fired their guns, striking Clark multiple times.

Clark was taken to the hospital, but he died from his injuries.

"Clark's actions that day brought about the circumstances that threatened the lives of at least four law enforcement officers had the gun he brandished been a firearm as was perceived by the responding officers, and I cannot find that the officers acted criminally," prosecutor Scott Ellington said. "Therefore, I find the officers were justified under these circumstances and no criminal charges will be filed in this matter."

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