State prosecutor: Not sufficient evidence to charge West Memphis police officer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

State prosecutor: Not sufficient evidence to charge West Memphis police officer

H.G. Foster H.G. Foster

A special prosecutor in the police shooting of a 12-year-old West Memphis boy who was playing with a friend said there was insufficient evidence to charge the officer in the boy's death.

DeAuntae Farrow, who was playing near an apartment where police were on a stakeout, was killed June 22 when West Memphis Sergeant Erik Sammis fired his gun at the boy. Sammis said he thought DeAuntae had a gun and moved after officers told him to stop.

But Special Prosecutor H.G. Foster said the boy was holding a toy gun that resembled a Smith and Wesson. He said the area was poorly lit and the officer ordered DeAuntae to stop and to put down the gun.

"They believed they were in harms way," Foster said of the officers. "They believed their lives were in jeopardy."

Foster showed pictures of the toy gun Farrow allegedly had in his possession at the time of the shooting, which had an orange tip at the end of its barrel, comparing it to a real gun.

"There is no way the color could have been seen," he said.

Foster said DeAuntae's death was a tragedy for his family and for the city of West Memphis. He dismissed rumors that DeAuntae's family didn't know where the boy was that night. He said DeAuntae wasn't doing anything wrong and his mother, Debra Farrow, is a good mother and cared about her son.

Foster presented an 800-page investigative file at the Crittenden County Courthouse. His report, based on an Arkansas State Police probe, was in line with an earlier U.S. Justice Department ruling that found no criminal violation of the boy's civil rights.

"The shooting and the death of DeAunta was a tragedy," he said. "It was a horrible, horrible thing."

Representatives of the local National Action Network said Debra Farrow was "devastated" and she did not want to comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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