White Arkansas Woman Pulls Gun on 4 Black Fundraising Teens

Associated Press none

Wynne, Ark. – The wife of an Arkansas jail administrator was arrested and charged with assault several days after police say she pulled a gun on four Black teenagers who were going door to door to raise money for their high school football team.

Police in the eastern Arkansas city of Wynne, about 100 miles northeast of Little Rock, said the incident happened Aug. 7. Police responding to reports of “suspicious persons” found the four children on the ground, with Jerri Kelly, who is White, standing over them holding a gun, Memphis TV station WMC reported.

The officer let the children stand up, and they told him they had been selling discount cards to raise money for a school athletic program. The Wynne School District said two of the four children were wearing football jerseys.
Kelly, 46, was charged Monday with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Cross County Sheriff’s Department Captain Jeff Nichols said a warrant was put out for Kelly’s arrest, and she turned herself in Monday evening. She was released that night on $10,000 bond.
Kelly, who is the wife of Cross County Jail Administrator Joseph Kelly, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday and it wasn’t clear whether she had an attorney who could comment.

Nichols said a mugshot of Kelly wasn’t taken on Monday because she had a “medical emergency” as she was being booked. He said he could not release more information, citing medical privacy laws. He said she came to the jail to have a mugshot taken after her initial court appearance on Thursday morning, in part because of community backlash.

“She was afforded the same booking process and procedures as anyone that’s brought into our facility,” Nichols said. “She received no preferential treatment.”

Bill Winkler, who said he has lived in the neighborhood where the incident took place for four decades, said children are typically out this time of year selling discount cards for the football team.

“Usually it’s right before football season, late summer or early fall,” Winkler said.
Wynne School District Superintendent Carl Easley said the district is considering stopping door-to-door fundraisers.

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