‘This is tragic beyond any articulation’: Ben Crump addresses shooting of Ralph Yarl

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - According to a press release from the law firm, Attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt have been retained by the family of 16-year-old Ralph Yarl.

In an interview CNN conducted via Skype on Monday, Crump addressed the case. Raw video of Crump’s interview with CNN has been added to this article (in the recorded interview, the questions being asked cannot be heard).

“The family’s number one priority... is the health of their 16-year-old child Ralph, who had everything going for him,” Crump said. “And then, for simply ringing a doorbell and being profiled, he is shot in the head.”

According to KCTV5′s previous reporting, Yarl was shot Thursday just after 9:50 p.m. while he was trying to pick up his siblings from a house in the 1100 block of NE 115th Terrace. Instead, he ended up at NE 115th Street. After knocking at the door, he was shot.

Yarl’s aunt, Faith Spoonmore, stated the homeowner opened his door and then opened fire on Yarl. He allegedly took a second shot at Yarl; Crump stated that the second shot was to Yarl’s chest. “We have been informed by his family that it was a white man who shot their 16-year-old son,” Crump also said.

Yarl was able to get up and run to get help. After trying three neighboring homes, someone was able to get help for him.

“It’s inexplicable,” Crump said. “I mean, to have Black people ring a doorbell and then have a white citizen shoot him in the head, first, and shoot him a second time. I mean, there is no way you can justify this. I mean, think about how ludicrous this is. You have people who are delivering packages — Amazon and FedEx. And so, are we going to start tolerating... that you can shoot them, and then go home and sleep in your bed at night after the police question you?”

The police said Sunday they held the shooter for 24 hours and did not charge him. The police added that they needed a statement from the victim.

On Monday, Yarl was released from medical care. He is now recovering at home.

“It is inescapable not to observe the racial dynamics here,” Crump said. “If the roles were reversed... how much outrage would there be in America?”

“Nobody can tell us if a Black man shot a 16-year-old white teenager for ringing his doorbell that he would not be arrested, that they would say, ‘Oh, well, we’ve got to talk to the white 16-year-old who was twice -- one in his head, one in his chest -- before we arrest the citizen.’ No.”

“We ask that everybody continue to pray for Ralph and we demand justice,” Crump said.