No criminal charges for two Marion, Arkansas officers involved in the deadly shooting of a 16-year-old boy in July, according to Arkansas District Attorney Scott Ellington.
Aries Clark was shot by police outside of an East Arkansas Youth Services building in Marion July 25.
Newly released police body cam video shows Clark holding what investigators later found out was a BB gun.
Wednesday, Ellington’s office released 4 police body cam videos along with a letter explaining why the officers involved were justified in this case.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Brannon Hinkle and Wesley Smith. Marion Police Chief Gary Kelley said both would return to duty.
“Aries yeah I can help ya. I can help ya man drop the gun. Dude step away,” said Officer Smith in the released body cam video from July 25.
Multiple videos released by the District Attorney’s office illustrate how Smith and other law enforcement spent about 10 minutes pleading with Clark and ordering him multiple times to put his gun down.
Smith also called Aries by name several times and made a reference to meeting Aries in the past.
It’s not clear through the video if Clark said anything to the officers.
According to the letter, Clark faced officers south of him, moved toward them and raised his firearm.
Smith fired his weapon immediately. Clark was hit in the back of his head, back, and butt. Hinkle also fired his weapon, but his shots did not hit Clark.Hinkle also fired his weapon, but his shots did not hit Clark.
When the firearm was removed from Clark’s hand an ambulance was called and life-saving techniques were used to try and save his life. Clark later died at a hospital.
The firearm recovered near his body was a BB gun.
According to Ellington, Clark was trying to return to the youth services facility where he was placed by an earlier court order. Clark left the facility July 23 without approval had been gone for 2 days without permission.
He tried twice to return on July 25, but people are not allowed to return to the facility until police clear them of any drugs or weapons, that is when Marion police were called.
Clark’s family attorney released a statement saying in part:
“No one from Marion Police Department, Arkansas State Police, nor the District Attorney’s office has contacted the family to advise them of this decision. Therefore, the family is not certain who or what to believe.”
It went on to say, they are reviewing the footage and conducting their own investigation before making any comments on their next step.
The Marion Police Chief declined an on camera interview but said he agrees with the district attorney’s decision and that the video speaks for itself.
The two officers involved in the shooting identified will return to duty.