Democratic Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said Tuesday on CNN that racial bias was a contributing factor in the shooting of a teen boy who approached the wrong home.
Sixteen-year-old Ralph Yarl tried to pick up his siblings April 13 but accidentally misread the address he was given. Kansas City Police were called just before 10 p.m., where they discovered Yarl with gunshot wounds to the head and arm. The homeowner had reportedly shot Yarl through the glass door.
Lucas alleged there was some racial bias involved in the shooting.
“I won’t assign racial bias to the police without further discussion and investigation, and I think that we did have officers, white officers for what it’s worth, who did a lot of hard work to get this case filed to the prosecutor, having charges filed shortly thereafter. That being said, to pretend that race is not a part of this whole situation would be to have your head in the sand,” Lucas said.
“This boy was shot because he was existing while black, and he knocked on the door of someone who clearly, clearly fears black people, black boys, black children, and I think that that is clear as day. And so I hope that is not mistaken or forgotten. The reason why many black people and black parents, myself included, are concerned is because if one day it’s ringing on the doorbell that can get you shot, then what else is next? This is normal existence in life, and somebody came to a door and shot through a door, not once but twice. That’s what is horrifying. That’s why I think I’m glad to see this first step towards justice and why we all need to investigate how we handle this and how can do better in the future.”
Police Chief Stacey Graves told reporters Monday there was no evidence the shooting was racially motivated, though she did assure the public racism has not been dismissed as a possibility. (RELATED: Woman Accidentally Pulls Into Wrong Driveway, Gets Fatally Shot In Head)
Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson disputed Graves’ claims, arguing “there was a racial component to the case.” Thompson was asked to elaborate, to which he replied, “What do you mean?” before telling reporters the probable cause statement gave “no indication” to convince him there was a racial element involved in the incident.
Homeowner Andrew D. Lester, 85, is facing one count of assault in the first degree and one count of armed criminal action.