Chief asked to resign over child's shooting


Published Sunday, December 09, 2007

WEST MEMPHIS (AP) The West Memphis City Council has passed a resolution calling for the resignation of Police Chief Bob Paudert and two officers who were involved in the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy.

The measure goes to the mayor, for his approval or veto.

West Memphis police Sergeant Erik Sammis, a white officer on a stakeout, shot DeAuntae Farrow as the boy played near an apartment complex on June 22. Arkansas State Police say Sammis shot the boy because he was holding a toy gun that appeared real. But DeAuntae's family says the boy held a bag of chips and a soda at the time of the shooting. The resolution calls for the resignation of Sammis and Officer Jimmy Evans.

The boy's grandmother, Verna Mae Farrow, was among citizens addressing the council Thursday night.

"I'm here on behalf DeAuntae that there will be justice for the police officers that shot a child," Verna Mae Farrow said.

Paudert said there is no reason to bring about his ouster.

"Why should I resign? I haven't done anything wrong," he said. But, the chief also said that he would resign if the mayor requests that he leave office.

The council voted 6-4 along racial lines to call for the resignations.

Mayor Bill Johnson has five days to either approve or veto the resolution.

"We needed peace in our city and we wasn't getting that," said Marco McClendon, a co-sponsor of the resolution with fellow council member Lorraine Robinson. "The community has been upset about this, both white and black, and we needed to start healing."

Evans returned to work Tuesday. Paudert says Sammis' position is waiting for him if he decides to return.