Justice for Ralph Yarl


Drawing by Elysse Weber

A drawing symbolizing Yarl and the justice that he deserves.

Elysse Weber

The world has not been quiet about inequalities. America has been filled with recurring issues, such as the lack of gun control, school shootings and ignorance towards the BLM movement. In the State of Kansas, all of these problems went to show once again, when a little boy was shot more than once. Yet again, an act of inequity and injustice has occurred.


16-year-old Ralph Yarl is an African American teen, who is said to be a great academic student and shows much interest in music. Yarl attends Staley High School, whereas his siblings also attend an elementary school in the area. When he went to pick up those siblings from a friend’s house, he experienced a tragedy that left damage to the boy himself.


On a Thursday night, Yarl was sent to pick up his twin brothers from their friends house when he mixed up the address of where he was supposed to go. He made his way to Northeast 115th Street when he meant to arrive at Northeast 115th Terrace, which was only one block away. 

According to the police, the second after Yarl knocked on the door, he was shot repeatedly in the head by Andrew D. Lester, an 84-year-old male. Lester was not initially charged and was released from custody immediately. This is when the protests began. Many “BLM” protesters began marching the streets (many with a sign,) all the way up to KCPD headquarters with the concerns of why Lester has not been charged. Because of this, there was more attention brought to the case which brought attention to Lester and his trial.


After the incident, Yarl was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with life threatening injuries, however days later he was able to go home and begin his physical recovery. After such a tragedy, he is obviously struggling emotionally and mentally. The aftermath of the incident has been traumatizing for Yarl, as his mother Cleo Nagbe mentions that the tragedy has been playing “over and over again.”


According to the most recent news, Lester has pleaded not guilty- police say that Lester shot Yarl once in the head, then in the arm. Concluding this, Lester has been charged with first degree assault and criminal action. If he pleads guilty or is proven so, he may spend life in prison. 


Not only has Yarl survived this tragedy, but he has many on his side recognizing the incident and making sure he gets his justice.