JUST IN: President Biden Spoke Directly With Ralph Yarl — Black Teen Shot By White 84-Yr-Old in Kansas City
President Joe Biden spoke directly to Ralph Yarl, the Black 16 year-old who was shot by an 84-year-old White man in Kansas City for ringing the man’s doorbell while unarmed.
On Monday night, a White House official told reporters “This evening, the President spoke by phone to Ralph Yarl and shared his hope for a swift recovery.”
Later in the evening, White House Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations Ashley Williams added that Biden spoke to Yarl’s mother s well.
“This evening, the President spoke to Ralph Yarl and his mom. @POTUS expressed he was thinking of him and shared his hope for a swift recovery,” Williams wrote on Twitter.
When reached for comment by Mediaite Tuesday morning, a White House official described the call in more detail:
They spoke at length regarding Ralph’s recovery and Ralph reminded the President that his mom Cleo Nagbe, who also joined the call, was not only a nurse but also a physical therapist. They discussed how fortunate Ralph was for that. They also discussed Ralph’s success in the classroom and his desire to pursue a chemical engineering degree at Texas A&M — and the President lightheartedly attempted to convince him that University of Delaware was a much better option. They discussed their respective families’ history and love of music. The President also committed to keeping up his fight against gun violence.
Yarl was shot twice — once in the head — last Thursday by homeowner Andrew Lester after Yarl rang Lester’s doorbell by mistake as he tried to pick up his siblings — but went to the wrong address.
CNN obtained a court document that included some of Lester’s account of the shooting:
According to a probable cause statement, Lester told investigators he was “scared to death” by Yarl’s size and his inability to defend himself at age 84. He told investigators he was in bed when he heard his doorbell ring and grabbed a handgun before answering the door.
“He stated he believed someone was attempting to break into the house, and shot twice (through an exterior storm door) within a few seconds of opening the (main) door,” a police detective writes in the court document.
The man was initially released following his arrest. At a press conference Monday night, Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson announced Lester will face charges of assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, telling reporters “I can tell you there was a racial component to this case.”
Yarl family attorney Ben Crump told CNN News Central‘s John Berman that it was “inexplicable” Lester was released:
CRUMP: Well, if inexplicable, John Berman, I mean to have black people ring a doorbell, and then have a white citizen shoot him in the head first and then 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 with Amazon and FedEx. And so are we going to start tolerating, if it’s a black citizen, that you can shoot them, and then go home and sleep in your bed at night after the police question you? It is unacceptable, unacceptable.
BERMAN: Now, we did hear police officials moments ago and Camila played this say they are aware of the racial component here. We don’t know the identity of the shooter. You are suggesting that the shooters race was white?
CRUMP: Yes. We have been informed by his family that it was a white man who shot their 16-year-old son. Furthermore, John, it is inescapable not to observe the racial dynamics here. Because our community, we can only imagine if the roles were reversed. And you had a black man, shoot a 16-year-old white child with simply ring his doorbell. And the police took him in for questioning and let him come home and sleeping in his bed at night. How much outrage would there be in America?
Watch above via CNN News Central.
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