Police cleared in slaying of teen near Arkansas youth center – Arkansas News

Police cleared in slaying of teen near Arkansas youth center – Arkansas News

Two Marion police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old in front of a shelter for juvenile offenders in July were justified in using deadly force, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Officer Wesley Smith shot Aries Clark of Crittenden County outside the East Arkansas Youth Services facility on July 25 after Clark pointed what Smith thought was a handgun, according to reports. Officials later determined that Clark was armed with a BB pistol that looked similar to a semi-automatic handgun, said 2nd Judicial Circuit Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro.

Smith shot his .40-caliber handgun four times, according to a letter Ellington wrote to Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant, striking Clark three times. Marion police officer Brannon Hinkle shot at Clark twice with a .223-caliber Remington semi-automatic rifle but missed both times.

Clark was taken to a Memphis hospital where he died.

Smith and Hinkle were placed on paid leave while the state police conducted an investigation into the shooting. Lt. Freddy Williams of the Marion Police Department said the two officers could return to duty as soon as today.

Ellington said several officers and witnesses agreed that Clark raised a pistol toward officers. Video taken from a body camera on Smith also showed Clark pointing the weapon after officers told him numerous times to drop it.

“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,” Ellington wrote in his letter to Bryant.

“I cannot find…

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