White woman arrested for holding 4 black students at gunpoint who were just selling fundraising cards, but did she do anything wrong?

I wonder what you guys will think about this scenario, where a white woman held 4 black students at gunpoint who were just going around the neighborhood selling fundraising cards for their school. The woman, a former law enforcement officer and wife of a county jail administrator, was arrested and charged with “four counts of aggravated assault and first degree false imprisonment — both felonies — as well as four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the second degree.”

FOX 8 – Four Arkansas teens were going door to door to raise money for their high school football team when a woman held them at gunpoint, police say.

The 10th-grade boys, who are all black and who were not identified because of their ages, were selling discount cards for restaurants and stores in Wynne, Arkansas, on August 7. Jerri Kelly, who told police that she is a former law enforcement officer and the wife of a county jail administrator, stopped them in front of her home, according to a police report.

The former law enforcement officer said the students were “making a ruckus”…

Kelly, who is white, said she saw the boys making a ruckus, according to the police report. She called the Wynne Police Department to report “suspicious persons” and in a later statement said, “All males were African American, and I know this residence to be white.”

As the boys approached her home, walking up her driveway and standing in her yard, Kelly picked up her revolver and came out to ask what they were doing, according to her statements. Even though they said they weren’t stealing, Kelly told police, she instructed them to get on the ground.

One boy told officers that he thought it was a joke until Kelly said to “get on the f***ing ground and spread your legs,” the police report says.

When they were on the ground, the boys said in their statements, she told them she would shoot if they moved. She asked whether they knew who she was and whose house it was. When the boys tried to explain what they were doing, they told police, she accused them of lying.

“I thought she was going to shoot me in the head, how she was acting,” one boy said in his statement.

When officers arrived, they found the four boys lying face-down on the ground, with their hands behind their backs, and Kelly standing about 10 feet from them with a gun drawn, according to the police report. One of the officers, who was also a school resource officer, recognized the boys and explained the situation to Kelly. They were allowed to stand, and the situation was defused.



Kelly told the students this wasn’t about skin color, but rather their behavior…

As the boys were walking to the officers’ patrol vehicle, Kelly told them to wait and began gesturing to her skin color and theirs.

“It ain’t about that,” she said, according to the responding officer’s statement. “If you’re going to sell cards, act like you’re selling cards. … Don’t be hanging out up there, and then don’t walk over to my house. Don’t act like that. Be men about it and sell cards.”

Two of the boys told police that Kelly then made them shake her hand.

Kelly told the police that it didn’t appear to her that the boys were selling anything, the report says. “They spent a good five minutes goofing off and screwing around in [the neighbor’s] driveway and up around their house. That’s not selling cards,” she said, according to the report.

Neighbors told an officer that they saw the boys walking down the street, playing and running around, but “nothing out of the ordinary,” the report says.

Kelly, 46, was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of aggravated assault and first degree false imprisonment — both felonies — as well as four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the second degree.

Personally I think she overreacted and went too far. There was no reason to hold the kids at gunpoint on the front porch. She could have just told them she wasn’t interested or to go away, and then let them continue on their way without pulling a weapon. If she was still very suspicious, she could have then called the police.

So what do you think: Did Kelly overreact, or did she act appropriately given the circumstances?

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35 thoughts on “White woman arrested for holding 4 black students at gunpoint who were just selling fundraising cards, but did she do anything wrong?

  1. Geez, really!? She over reacted? I mean she pulled out a gun on some kids horsing around out on the street. When did it become okay to just start pulling guns out on people.

  2. One thing to bring a gun if you suspect something, another thing to keep them from leaving if no crime had been committed. In many states depending on gun laws you could not shoot the kids legally even if they were stealing something. Citizen arrest would possibly be legal but this is insane.

  3. This is a big story being discussed on the local talk shows here in Arkansas. I do agree that she overreacted and should have just waited for police to arrive and sort things out. I do see why she was concerned about a group of teenagers she didn’t know horsing around in peoples driveways and making their way up to her door. She should have stayed indoors and let the police do their job, but they were trespassing on her property.

    1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess she doesn’t get any kids Trick-or-Treating at her house on Halloween.

  4. She called her husband to call the police and went out of her house and confronted them anyway. Why? She should’ve stayed inside her home and awaited the arrival of officers. Since I already know about this story, I didn’t read through the article here. Even after the police were there and an officer gave the boys directives, she still tried to be the one in control of the situation. The woman sounds like an idiot IMO. She, a former LEO and her husband, some somebody in the jail, I guess means she thought she could do what she wanted.

    1. I agree that she overreacted, but as you know we’ve had some murders here in the past year from teenagers, so i can see why she called police. A lot of these kids on the football team are big.

    2. You would think that being in the Law Enforcement business, both herself and her husband, she would know the difference between REAL criminals and kids playing around.

  5. This is way some moderates think gun owners are right wing nuts. If you are not friends with normal law abiding gun owners, these media reports are all you know.

  6. Assuming we have all the relevant facts, I’d say she definitely overreacted. Teenaged boys horsing around in public? I’d be suspicious if they weren’t, no matter who they were.

  7. Of course the liberals will scream racism and claim this is a reason people shouldn’t be allowed to keep guns in their home. Her mistake was walking outside with hers and holding it on them until the police arrived.

  8. It could have ended badly if one of the kids panicked and ignored her orders. She’d probably have shot him. Dangerous lunatic. Cannot be trusted with a gun.

  9. This wasn’t her job. This is not the job of a citizen, retired LEO or otherwise. Plain and simple.

    There are appropriate times for a citizen to intervene in this way. This was not one of them.

    They are going to sue the crap out of her.

  10. Door to door sales / fund raising isn’t that much fun, so I admire the football team for having the players out earning the needed money versus using social media asking for donations. I wonder if this incident will cause them to cancel the plan?

    1. I’ve never been in favor of the schools sending students out door to door to raise money for anything. All of these schools have big budgets (taxpayer $$). If they do fund raise, they should have an adult with them.

    2. These days it’s not really that effective. That’s why you’re seeing a huge uptick of it in front of supermarkets.

      There was a funny video I saw once, one of those Then and Now things. Then, somebody rang the doorbell and not only were they excited to see their visitor they invited him in, put on a pot of coffee, and invited them to stay for dinner. Now, somebody rings the doorbell and everybody hides and goes pindrop silent in hopes of convincing the visitor that nobody’s home.

  11. She over reacted. Truth be told, I don’t fault her suspicion that they were up to no good based on how she described their behavior.

    But you pull a gun as a last resort and only when you already feel deadly force is authorized. This didn’t qualify on either count.

    1. I don’t fault her suspicion that they were up to no good based on their behavior.

      Uhm…

      Neighbors told an officer that they saw the boys walking down the street, playing and running around, but “nothing out of the ordinary,”

  12. I am surprised she didn’t stay in her house until police showed up.

    There is a lot of context missing. Has there been a rash of burglaries or vandalism in the neighborhood recently that might justify greater suspicion of teens? Was this in daylight, dusk, or at night? Few people are home to buy coupons during the day, and more suspicion is justified when groups of teens, not from the neighborhood, are around at night.

    They’re 10th graders, but is that starting in 10th grade or just finished 10th grade — there can be a huge difference in the size of teens, especially football players, around that age. Again, we don’t have pictures of the teens, but if they are over 6′ tall, they’d appear more menacing.

    I remember when news hit Michael Brown attacked and tried to steal Officer Darren Wilson’s gun in Ferguson. The first pictures of him were when he was 12 or 13, thin, and angelic. Then, days later, we see a video of him robbing the convenience store and acting like a general thug — he was huge.

    I don’t understand why she went outside to confront them, except (like many formerly in the military), she doesn’t really accept she’s a former LEO.

    1. I would argue that, even granting ALL of the context in her defense (let’s assume for sake of argument that there’s a string of burglaries, it was night, and these teens were huge and imposing), she still went way past what was acceptable for armed citizen intervention.

      Call the cops, stress the urgency, watch them from a window, and make note of the direction they go if they leave before response time. That’s it. That’s as far as a citizen should go.

      Citizen intervention is appropriate in cases of direct and immediate harm. The guy is beating his kids. You’re in the store as it’s being held up. You just witnessed a mugging. You watched the lady put the stolen item in her coat (though, even that one is ify).

      Beyond that, and you cross the line from good samaritan into vigilante. And, regardless of how much folks seem to fantasize about that, it’s not our job. That’s the right and proper purpose of police. They have a monopoly on the legal use of force. It’s not ours to use but for self-defense and defense of others.

  13. The fact that she said, “All males were African American, and I know this residence to be white,” says it all!

    If someone is acting suspicious you call the police and stay inside. And the fact that she was a former law enforcement officer meant she should know better.

  14. “Kelly, 46, was arrested Monday and charged with four counts of
    aggravated assault and first degree false imprisonment — both felonies —
    as well as four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor in the
    second degree”. I am glad that they charged her to the full extent of the law and I hope they burn her ass. It’s people like this who threaten the gun rights of all of us. The media loves to play up stories like this, however rare they are.

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