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White Man Who Shot Unarmed Black Teen Ralph Yarl for Knocking on His Door Was Finally Arrested

Protesters hold signs and chant at a rally for Ralph Yarl.

America has too many guns, and too often they are used on children. This time, an innocent Black teenager, Ralph Yarl, 16, on his way to pick up his younger brothers was shot senselessly for simply ringing the doorbell at the wrong house. Since this is America, it took days for Andrew Lester, the white man who admittedly shot the child, to face any kind of justice. The shooting happened in Kansas City, Missouri, a state that recently made the news for being the only one in the country that wanted to tax groceries but not bullets.

After the attempted murder took place Lester initially faced no repercussions, per The Kansas City Defender:

Reports indicate that the white man was taken to the police headquarters briefly to provide a statement but was released shortly after without charge.

Compare what happened to Lester to what happened to Kevin Monahan, who was recently arrested for allegedly murdering Kaylin Gillis, a white woman who pulled into Monahan’s driveway after mistaking it for her friend’s home in rural New York. Per CNN:

In the New York shooting, both Monahan and Gillis are White. No one is believed to have exited the car, and there was no interaction between Monahan and anyone in the vehicle before shots were fired, [Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey] Murphy said.

“There was clearly no threat from anyone in the vehicle. There was no reason for Mr. Monahan to feel threatened,” Murphy said.

Monahan was arrested on the same day as the murder. It’s taken five days since Yarl’s shooting for Lester to be charged. Compare the two cases of the victims getting lost and encountering a high-strung, violent gun owner and the racial disparity is glaringly obvious. One perpetrator was dealt with swiftly, and the other only began to face justice after five days and a national outcry.

You can see the protests that happened in Kansas City over the weekend, over the outrage that Lester had yet to be arrested, here:

Additional video here:

Yarl’s classmates also staged a walkout Tuesday in support of him:

“I share the outrage and concern of many in asking why,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told CNN, regarding Lester’s quick release from custody.

“In Missouri, you can have a 24-hour hold. It is clear here that this was two or three hours, where they questioned the suspect. He was able to go back home that evening.”

So, you shoot an unarmed child through a “locked glass door” without speaking to him, once in the head, and again just for good measure when he’s on the ground, and you get to sleep in your own bed at night after being inconvenienced for a few hours? But if you shoot a white woman under very similar circumstances, you go to jail, get charged, and probably never see your home again. To be clear, the latter is absolutely the outcome we as a country should be demanding. If these gun nuts are going to hold us all hostage as we try to solve the epidemic of gun violence in this country, the very least we can do is make them face the maximum amount of accountability when the inevitable happens.

To reiterate, that poor child was shot in the head and had to run for his life because the man shot him while he was on the ground. Then, he tried three separate houses to try to get help. No one would help him until someone finally took pity on him and called 911. Per CNN:

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told CNN she called 911 after Ralph came to her door, bleeding.

Since the shooter’s location was unknown at the time, she was directed to stay inside her home by the emergency operator for her safety. She said she complied initially, then went outside with towels to help suppress the bleeding.

“This is somebody’s child. I had to clean blood off of my door, off of my railing. That was someone’s child’s blood,” she said. “I’m a mom … this is not OK.”

None of this is OK.

Obviously, the horrible “Stand Your Ground” justification is already being bandied about because this is how white supremacy likes to maintain itself. However, according to a Yarl family attorney, Lester will have an uphill battle with that defense in court. Per CNN:

Lee Merritt, another attorney representing Ralph and his family, told CNN Monday that the “stand your ground” action would not apply to Ralph’s case.

“The stand your ground action, under the laws of Missouri, are completely inapplicable to this case, because there has been no conversation, not from the suspect, not from the victim and not from law enforcement, that Ralph Yarl, at 16 years old, ever posed a threat to this shooter,” Merritt said.

As for Ralph Yarl, he’s physically recovering but mentally, he’s got a long way to go from the trauma of last week. Per the above source:

“Life looks a lot different right now. Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable,” the aunt wrote in the fundraiser.

You can donate to his GoFundMe here.

As for Lester, he’s surrendered himself to police after finally being charged. Let’s hope he stays in jail where he belongs.

(featured image: Chase Castor/Getty Images)

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Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and politics for five years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She has probably seen Cliffhanger more times than you. Team Edward 4-Eva.