Ralph Yarl's Family Sues Shooter and Homeowners Association in Missouri

Lawsuit filed against shooter and homeowners association after Black teen Ralph Yarl was shot in the head for mistakenly ringing wrong doorbell, raising concerns about racial profiling and gun violence.

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Ebenezer Mensah
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Ralph Yarl's Family Sues Shooter and Homeowners Association in Missouri

Ralph Yarl's Family Sues Shooter and Homeowners Association in Missouri

The family of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot in the head after ringing the doorbell of the wrong home in Kansas City, Missouri, has filed a lawsuit against the White man who shot him, Andrew Lester, and the residential homeowners association where the house is located, the Highland Acres Homes Association, Inc. The lawsuit accuses Lester and the homeowners association of "careless and negligent conduct."

The shooting on April 13, 2023, stemmed from a simple mistake when Ralph, now 17, went to the wrong home while trying to pick up his younger siblings. Lester, who was 85 at the time, fired multiple rounds from a handgun, grazing Yarl in the head and striking him in the arm. The racial dynamics of the incident raised scrutiny of whether anti-Black racism played a role in the shooting.

The lawsuit states that Ralph "never posed or issued a threat to Defendant, Andrew Lester," and that the homeowners association "was aware of or should have been aware of Defendant, Andrew Lester's, propensity for violence, access to dangerous weapons and racial animus." It alleges that Ralph "suffered and sustained permanent injuries, endured pain and suffering of a temporary and permanent nature, experienced disability and losses of normal life activities, was obligated to spend large sums of money for medical and attention and suffered other losses and damages."

Why this matters: The shooting of Ralph Yarl sparked national outrage and protests, raising concerns about racial profiling and gun violence. The civil lawsuit aims to hold both the shooter and the homeowners association accountable, seeking justice for Yarl and his family.

Lester has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action, and his trial is set to begin on October 7. The lawsuit lists six "breaches" of duties by the homeowner's association and is seeking a judgment in excess of the county's jurisdictional limit, plus court costs. "The goal is to ensure that steps are taken to prevent such tragedies from occurring again, as well as to advocate for systemic changes that prioritize the safety and well-being of all children," said the Yarl family in a statement.

Key Takeaways

  • Ralph Yarl, a Black teen, was shot in the head after ringing the wrong doorbell.
  • The shooter, Andrew Lester, and the homeowners association are sued for "careless and negligent conduct."
  • The lawsuit alleges Lester had a "propensity for violence" and "racial animus" towards Yarl.
  • Lester has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, and his trial is set for October 7.
  • The lawsuit seeks to hold both parties accountable and prevent similar tragedies in the future.