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Ben Crump: There's no relief until Ralph Yarl's shooter is convicted

Attorney Ben Crump says the charges brought against Andrew Lester are the right response, but that there won't be relief without a conviction.
Posted at 9:55 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-18 07:01:59-04

On Monday the Clay County Prosecutor's Office filed two felony charges against 85-year-old Andrew Lester in connection with the shooting of Ralph Yarl.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump spoke live with Scripps News about the shooting as news of the charges broke.

"To shoot a teenager just for ringing your doorbell cannot be the message that we send to society," he said.

"We have to remain vigilant until there's a conviction. Far too often we've seen charges where they shoot unarmed Black teenagers and scream 'stand your ground,' and then the jury acquits them. So we are not going to start being relieved, until we get a conviction."

16-year-old Ralph Yarl holds his clarinet

Black teen shot after going to wrong house; homeowner charged

A 16-year-old in Kansas City, Missouri, is recovering after being shot. Many in the community believe the shooting was racially motivated.

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There is a message to be taken from the shooting, Crump said.

"You're ringing the doorbell. You're not banging on the door, you're not doing anything that is malicious or aggressive." Crump said. "We have to talk to these perpetrators, and tell them that they need to quit profiling our children."

Crump is representing the Yarl family. He says advocacy following the incident was crucial.

"Had his family and me and attorney [Lee] Merritt and our legal teams not started arguing in the court of public opinion, they might have swept this completely under the rug."

Yarl’s father told the Kansas City Star the teen is now recovering at home and making good progress.