How should we respond when a teen is shot by police? Our panel discusses

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After officers were cleared of wrongdoing Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Aries Clark in Marion, Arkansas, some people began asking questions.

What led up to this? Could police could have done more to defuse the situation? How can we prevent this in the future?

WREG assembled a panel of community leaders to talk about their reactions Thursday and the discussion was streamed live on our Facebook page.

You can watch the full video in the link below. Here are some highlights:

Memphis Police Association president Michael Williams wondered if this was an attempt at suicide by cop from a troubled young man. He also noted this is the second time recently that a BB gun was mistaken for a real weapon.

“The issue is, once you start pointing your weapon at people, you don’t know when they’re going to pull the trigger.”

Cooper-Young resident Aaron James said a similar situation happened near him recently, also with a BB gun, although it did not end with a fatality. “These young people today, with the video games and the whole thug mentality, I honestly believe they just don’t know the difference.”

Criminal attorney Steve Farese said he sometimes takes officers to task but in this case police did everything they could do.

“We’re spring-loaded to believe the police are at fault, and that’s just not fair.”

Rev. Ralph White with the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board said many people in the community had tried to reach out to Aries Clark, and people need to reach out to more children in the community to prevent this in the future.

“What am I doing, other than Monday morning quarterbacking, to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”

Many of our viewers asked whether police could have used a TASER or some other tactic. Farese answered that in order to get close enough to use a TASER, it would have put the officer in danger.


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