Four Black High School football players held at gunpoint by white woman while fundraising for team
Four Black Arkansas teenagers decided to go door-to-door in their neighborhood to fundraise for their local high school football team. The young men were walking up her driveway with the intention of selling restaurant discount cards and two of them were even wearing school jerseys, according to KNOE 8 News.
Unfortunately, none of that mattered to 46-year old, Jerri Kelly who brandished a handgun at the boys who arrived at her house around 10 a.m. on Aug. 7, according to police.
In a statement released to the media, Wynne Police Chief Jackie Clark said officers responded to a report of “suspicious persons” and arrived to find the juveniles lying on the ground with Kelly, who is white, standing over them pointing her gun at them. Police told the teenagers to stand up as the young men tried to explain why they were going door-to-door.
After investigating the incident, Kelly, who is the wife of Cross County Jail Administrator Joe Kelly, was eventually arrested although no mugshot of her was taken. Cross County Sheriff David West told WMC Action News 5 that Kelly had a “medical issue” while being booked and this is why no mugshot was captured, as speculation and assertions were made since Joe Kelly is one of West’s employees.
“I’m professional. My department is professional. There was no special treatment. She went through the steps just like any other person would,” West said, according to KNOE 8 News.
“As we focus on our children, no bond will ever be set too high to protect our children, but in the real world bonds are only set to guarantee appearances in court,” said Clark in a statement. “Sometimes as police officers or citizens we don’t always agree with bonds being set too high or low, but our goal is always to ensure justice is served in the end.”
When reporters asked Clark if Kelly received preferential treatment, he responded, “This is about those four kids, and our focus is completely on those kids.”
Interestingly enough, Kelly was arrested nearly a week after the incident and charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering a minor.
As for the boys, some residents commented that they have seen them out in the neighborhood before, so were shocked at how they were treated.
“Usually, it’s right before football season, late summer or early fall the kids were out selling these discount cards,” said Bill Winkler, who has lived in the community for 40 years to KNOE 8 News.
“They’re just kids,” said Winkler. “You worry about your neighborhood, and you wonder who is this person.”
Wynne Superintendent Carl Easley said the district is reviewing its fundraising policy and will consider no longer allowing door-to-door sales.