In Wynne, Arkansas, Black youth were fundraising when their lives changed forever. They were going door-to-door selling discount cards for their football team, when they arrived at Jerri Kelly’s house. What she decided to do put their lives at risk and shocked countless people.
Jerri pulled out a gun and held the four boys at gunpoint on the ground. She called the police and when they arrived the boys were allowed to leave. She was later arrested on four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of a minor. It gets even deeper from here.
Jerri is the wife of (now) former Cross County Jail Administrator Joe Kelly. He resigned after the incident. Maybe in part because the entire incident left people wondering if she got special treatment. Why? She didn’t even have a mugshot taken because of a “medical issue.”
Jerri and her husband have now moved, and some neighbors are glad. One told WMC 5 Action News, “We don't need those kind of neighbors.” That same neighbor said more should happen to her husband than resignation, and her arrest “wasn't done right.”
The youth are safe for the time being, but when we think of young people like Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Renisha McBride we have to wonder if that’s ever really true. Unfortunately, we have to make sure that Black youth know this is a world that’s constantly threatening them.