Family of RALPH YARL, teen shot after ringing wrong doorbell, files civil suit

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - The family of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot in April 2023 after going to the wrong house in Kansas City, Missouri, has filed a lawsuit against the white homeowner who shot him.

The lawsuit, filed by Yarl's mother Cleopatra Nagbe in Clay County Circuit Court, accuses Andrew Lester, 85, of being careless when he shot Yarl in the head and arm without warning on April 13, 2023.

Yarl, who was 16 at the time, was severely injured and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“At all times relevant, Plaintiff (Ralph Yarl) never posed or issued a threat to Defendant, Andrew Lester,” the lawsuit states. "At no time relevant to the circumstances giving rise to this litigation did Plaintiff (Ralph Yarl) do anything that warranted Defendant, Andrew Lester, brandishing a firearm at him."

Yarl's family is also suing Lester's homeowners association, Highland Acres Homes Association, alleging that the association was aware of or should have been aware of Lester's "propensity for violence, access to dangerous weapons and racial animus," according to the lawsuit. The suit claimed that the association had a duty to exercise reasonable care “regarding the use of a firearm in and on the properties making up the Association.”

Lester was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Lest pleaded not guilty to the charges in April 2023 but the case was moved to the state's Circuit Court for trial as the county's lower court cannot try felonies. He again pled not guilty to the charges in September 2023 and the trial was scheduled to begin on October 7, 2024.

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