The Shooting of Ralph Yarl

What happens in the U.S. when you make a mistake about which house to go to? If you are Black, it can mean being shot without warning or cause. This is what happened to Ralph Yarl on April 13th in Kansas City. Yarl is 16 years old. On April 13, he went to pick up his younger siblings from a playdate. But Yarl mistook the address and accidentally went to the wrong home. After he rang the doorbell, the homeowner, Andrew Lester, came to the door and shot Yarl in the head and in the arm, shooting him the second time after he had fallen to the ground.

After this outrage came insult: Lester was not arrested for four days after the shooting. This arrest came only after the massive outpouring of protests from the people of Kansas City.

Lester claims that he felt threatened by Yarl, but this is ridiculous. Yarl clearly did not pose a threat, he was simply in the wrong place. Lester assumed that Yarl would somehow be a so-called threat. Why? Even the District Attorney, who didn’t file any charges until after the many days of protests, said there was likely a “racial component” to the shooting. And there is no excuse for shooting again at a person already on the ground, as Lester did.

Ralph Yarl miraculously managed to survive the shooting and was released from the hospital after four days. Andrew Lester was charged in court with the shooting on April 19 – almost a week after it happened. This incident demonstrated, once again, the toxic racism that infects U.S. society.