MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For 10 minutes, Marion Arkansas Police pleaded with 16-year-old Aries Clark to put down the gun he was holding.
When he raised it instead, he was shot and killed.
“The issue is once you start pointing your weapon at people you don’t know when they are going to pull the trigger. That’s where the problem comes in,” said Mike Williams, who heads up the police union in Memphis.
He joined a cross-section of Midsoutheners in the WREG studio for a discussion, about the video.
Pastor Ralph White leads the Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board, which hears cases of police excessive force.
He said it’s a heartbreaking case, but officers did their job.
” We listened to those officers pleading with that young man. They didn’t wake up that morning saying we are gonna go out and shoot somebody. They pleaded. One guy said hey I have talked to you before. We can talk. So they were at a point of desperation. A gun is a gun,” said White.
Facebook users also weighed in, asking if police could have used tasers instead.
Criminal Attorney Steve Farese was on the panel at WREG.
“Once he raised the gun, he removed the possibility for more talk, for getting grandmother down there to talk to him…to have people come from the facility to talk to him,” said Farese.
Neighborhood watch leader Aaron James says a lot goes back to kids getting access to guns.
He remembers a similar situation in his Cooper Young neighborhood that ended differently.
“They diffused the situation and when they did they discovered it was a b-b gun. But just like Mike was saying you get manufacturers that produce these realistic products,” said James.
It turns out Aries Clark’s gun was a b-b gun.
His family is considering their next move which could be court.
Criminal Attorney Farese says it won’t be easy.
“I would say as their attorney has said we have to do more investigation, but I would be honest with them and tell them from what I have seen I don’t think this case would fly,” said Farese.
It’s a tragic ending that many hope will lead to a frank discussion about helping troubled youth.
The Arkansas State Prosecutor decided not to pursue charges against the officers involved in the shooting.
They have returned to work.