Earlier this month, four black teens were traveling door-to-door fundraising for their school’s football team in Wynne, Arkansas. However, when they arrived at the home of Jerri Kelly, they found themselves being held to the ground at gunpoint.
According to CBS News, Jerri, who is married to a county jail administrator, was later arrested and charged with four accounts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Authorities arrived at her home on August 7th around 10am after they responded to a report of “suspicious persons.” When they arrived, they found her standing over the four young men with her gun pointed at them. However, other members of the community reportedly said they did not witness any suspicious activity that morning.
Once they were off the ground, the boys explained that they were selling discount cards to raise money for their school’s athletic program. According to the police report, two of the young men were even wearing their football jerseys. Also one of the responding officers recognized the boys from interacting with them as a School Resource Officer.
Jerri claimed she acted out of fear due to due to a prior home invasion and tried to argue that the difference in their skin color had nothing to do with the incident. According to the police report, she pointed to their skin and then her own and claimed, “It ain’t about that.”
A warrant for her arrest was eventually issued, and she turned herself in on Monday and was released that same day on a $10,000 bond.
However, a mugshot was not initially taken, due to an alleged “medical emergency,” while she was being booked. However, the photo was taken after her court appearance on Thursday morning. There had been backlash from the community, stating that she had received special treatment, and that’s why a photo wasn’t taken the first time around.
Cross County Sheriff’s Department Captain Jeff Nichols said, “She was afforded the same booking process and procedures as anyone that’s brought into our facility. She received no preferential treatment.”
Carl Easley, the Wynne School District Superintendent, says that students participate in fundraisers every year, but they are considering stopping the door-to-door funding.