High Court Halts Grand Jury Probe of West Memphis Shooting Death

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas' highest court has temporarily halted a judge's order calling a grand jury to investigate the police shooting of a 12-year-old black child this summer.

The court issued a temporary stay Friday of Crittenden County Circuit Court Judge Victor L. Hill's order for a grand jury investigation into DeAuntae Farrow's death.  Hill called for the grand jury investigation after a special prosecutor declined to file criminal charges in the shooting.

West Memphis police sergeant Erik Sammis, a white officer on a stakeout, shot DeAuntae as he played near an apartment complex June 22.  An Arkansas State Police investigation into the shooting concluded Sammis shot DeAuntae because the boy held a toy version of a semiautomatic pistol in the darkened parking lot.  The youth's family disputed that, saying the boy held a bag of chips and a soda at the time of the shooting.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)