• Law

    Police charge white man for shooting Black teen boy who had wrong address

    A white homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri, has been charged with armed assault after he shot a Black teenager who rang his doorbell by mistake, authorities announced on Monday.

    Andrew Lester, 85, is also facing a charge of armed criminal action after shooting Ralph Yarl, 16, twice on Thursday. The teenager, a high school junior, was going to pick up his younger twin brothers from a play date when he went to the wrong address. Zachary Thompson, the prosecuting attorney, announced the charges late on Monday after intense local protests and widespread outrage over the police’s decision to briefly detain Lester before releasing him without charges.

    Lester was not in custody early Monday evening, but there was a warrant out for his arrest, Thompson said. Charging documents said that Lester came to the door when the doorbell rang and then shot the boy in the head, before shooting him again, and that no words were exchanged before he opened fire.

    Yarl was recovering at home after being released from a Kansas City hospital on Sunday, where he was being treated for gunshot wounds to his head and chest, his family said. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, told the Guardian that Yarl suffered a fractured skull, a traumatic brain injury involving swelling, post-concussive syndrome and injuries to his arm: “The family is elated that Ralph didn’t succumb to his injuries, but now they’re angry about the failure of the justice system to show any value or appreciation of his life,” Merritt said in an interview on Monday morning before the charges were announced.

    Kansas City police had insisted earlier that they could not take further action until they spoke to the seriously injured boy.

    The prominent civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump is also representing the family, and earlier told CNN: “It is inescapable not to observe the racial dynamics here.” .

    “We can only imagine if the roles were reversed, and you have a Black man shooting a 16-year-old white child who was simply ringing his doorbell, and the police took him in for questioning and let him come home and sleep in his bed at night.

    “How much outrage would there be in America? It’s unacceptable. We demand justice. Arrest the attempted murderer of this young Black child.”

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