Protesters demand justice for Black teen shot in Kansas City

Protesters demand justice for Black teen shot in Kansas City

Hundreds of protesters demanded justice for a Black teenager shot in the midwestern US state of Missouri, local media reported Sunday, as police promised to move quickly with the investigation.

Protesters demand justice for Black teen shot in Kansas City
Twitter: @halleberry

Ralph Paul Yarl, 16, is in critical condition after he was shot twice and struck in the head by a white man last week in Kansas City, according to a statement on Sunday by high-profile lawyers Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, who have agreed to take the case.

Yarl was picking up his twin brothers from a friend's house on Thursday when he rang the wrong doorbell and was shot by the homeowner through a glass door, according to a note from his aunt, Faith Spoonmoore, on a GoFundMe campaign for his medical bills and therapy.

The case has drawn nationwide attention and prompted outcry on Kansas City's streets and online from celebrities and activists.

On Sunday, protesters gathered in front of the house where Yarl was reportedly shot and demanded the homeowner face hate crime charges, Kansas City public broadcaster KCUR 89.3 reported.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a Sunday night press conference that the homeowner had been released after 24 hours in custody, and that a statement from the victim would be needed before pursuing any charges.

"The information that we have now, it does not say that it's racially motivated, that's still an active investigation," Graves said.

"But as a chief of police, I do recognize the racial components of this case. I do recognize and understand the community's concern."

Graves said police were working "as expeditiously and as thoroughly as we can".

Police said Yarl had been transferred to the hospital with injuries described as life-threatening, according to local media.

They did not say how many times he had been shot.

"Ralph is alive. He is healing," Spoonmore told KCUR.

On the GoFundMe page, she described Yarl as a smart and friendly kid with dreams of studying chemical engineering at university.

The suspected shooter has not been identified by the authorities.

"My heart completely broke when I learned this precious 16-year-old, who accidentally rang the door of the wrong address in an attempt to pick up his siblings, was shot in the head," Hollywood star Halle Berry tweeted, calling on the prosecutor to press charges.

Deadly shootings are a regular occurrence in the United States, a country of around 330 million people that is awash with an estimated 400 million guns.

On Saturday in the state of Alabama, four people were killed and at least 28 others, mostly teenagers, were wounded in a shooting at a birthday party.


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