In this image from a July 25, 2017 police body camera video released by District Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Aries Clark, 16, raises a black BB gun that looked like a handgun at officers before he was shot in Marion, Ark. Two eastern Arkansas police officers won't face charges in the fatal shooting of a black teenager outside an emergency youth shelter, a prosecutor said Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. (District Prosecuting Attorney's Office via AP)
Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Officers cleared in shooting death of 16-year-old

Marion police said the teen, identified as Aries Clark, raised a black 1911 BB pistol that looked like a handgun toward officers before he was shot.

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Prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington said in a letter Wednesday that Aries Clark, 16, was shot outside the East Arkansas Youth Services on July 25 after officers tried for 10 minutes to get him to drop the BB gun. 

Ellington said the two officers involved — Brannon Hinkle and Wesley Smith — were justified in using lethal force.

Body camera footage showed Aries raising the weapon toward officers after police “ordered, cajoled, encouraged and begged Clark to rid himself of the weapon.”

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“As officers attempted to convince Clark to drop his weapon, the juvenile turned and focused his attention on other officers to the south of him. Officers on the scene continued to negotiate with Clark for well over 10 minutes attempting to get him to drop the weapon,” Ellington wrote. “Clark pointed his weapon in the direction of those officers. Observing the imminent danger the other officers were in, Officer Smith immediately fired his service weapon at Clark, who was struck multiple times.”

Ellington said that an ambulance was called as soon as the BB gun was taken from Aries’ hand and that police attempted to perform “life-saving techniques in an attempt to save Clark’s life.” He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

"The officers involved, according to Scott Ellington, were cleared of any wrongdoing and justified in using lethal force," Marion police Chief Gary Kelley said.

Kelley said the two officers involved will be back at work Thursday after being on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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