Lawsuit Filed by Family of Teen Shot After Wrong Doorbell Incident

Seeking Justice for Ralph Yarl

The family of a Black teenager who was shot by a homeowner in Kansas City, Missouri, has filed a civil lawsuit against the homeowner. The incident, which occurred in April 2023, sparked national outrage and raised questions about racial bias in self-defense claims.

Civil Lawsuit Alleges Negligence by Homeowner

The lawsuit, filed by Cleo Nagbe on behalf of her son, Ralph Yarl, alleges negligence on the part of homeowner Andrew Lester. The complaint claims that Lester acted unreasonably by shooting Yarl, then 16, without warning. Yarl sustained permanent injuries and suffered significant pain as a result of the shooting.

Criminal Trial Looming

Lester pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the shooting in September 2023. The criminal trial is scheduled to begin in October 2024.

Wrong Address Leads to Tragedy

According to Yarl’s testimony, he mistakenly went to the wrong address while picking up his siblings. He rang the doorbell and reached for the storm door as Lester opened the inner door. A brief verbal exchange ensued before Yarl was shot twice, once in the head and once in the arm.

Dual Pronged Approach to Justice

The family’s attorney, James Merritt, acknowledges the potential delay of the civil case due to the ongoing criminal trial. However, filing the lawsuit now allows the legal process to begin and ensures access to relevant case records needed for their case.