Statement on shooting of Ralph Yarl

Mobilization for Justice is appalled by the shooting of Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager in Kansas City who rang the wrong doorbell to pick up his siblings. The white male who answered the door took one look at Yarl and shot him twice in the head and arm. Days after the shooting, the shooter has yet to be charged and is not under arrest.

This is an egregious injustice for so many reasons. Ringing a doorbell at the wrong address is not a crime. But now, an innocent child is fighting for his life because of an irresponsible gun owner. As noted by Yarl family lawyer Ben Crump: “It is inescapable not to observe the racial dynamics here,” said Crump. “If the roles were reversed,” he continued, “how much outrage would there be in America?”

Going about your daily business while Black has made countless innocent people a target for both state-sanctioned and individual violence throughout American history. This senseless tragedy is intrinsically linked to the injustices that preceded it.

We call for justice for Ralph, for the shooter to be held accountable for his crimes, and for the systemic change needed to stop reckless gun owners from destroying innocent lives. We send our best wishes to Yarl, who has thankfully been released from the hospital, as he recovers from this tragedy. We send our support to his family, friends, community, and legal team as they surround him with care and pursue justice on his behalf. We stand with those calling for the systemic change needed to secure full and equal justice for Black people. And we will continue to fight for a world where Black children can move freely without fear of being shot.