The Ralph Yarl Story + How It Impacts Black Delivery Workers

Kansas City teen Ralph Yarl is currently recovering after being shot in the head by Andrew Lester. Yarl was shot after ringing the wrong doorbell, which is a scary reality for Black delivery workers.

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Kansas City Chaos

On April 13, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot in the head by 84-year-old Andrew Lester. In an attempt to pick up his younger siblings, Yarl accidentally rang Lester’s doorbell, who then resulted to shooting Yarl in the head, claiming he thought Yarl was a home intruder. According to NBC News, Yarl was released from the hospital, while Lester was arrested and taken into custody.

Ralph’s Story Sparks Outrage + Concern For Delivery Workers

Yarl was shot in the head by Lester and also shot in the arm. Lester shot through his glass and later told the Kansas City Police that he was “scared” of Yarl, and he thought he was trying to break into his home. 

Lester was arrested and later released on April 17 after posting the $200,000 bond. He faced charges of first-degree assault and criminal action, and on April 19, he pleaded not guilty.

On Twitter, one reaction to Yarl’s shooting comes from a Kansas City woman named Keturah Gibson, a Doordash driver. “That could have been me that night,” Gibson said.

In addition, many comments expressed worry about Black Amazon or UPS drivers who might knock on the wrong door. Another Twitter user commented:

“Ralph yarl situation make me not wanna DoorDash lowkey. Cuz got up n ran to 3 houses after gettin popped twice, once in the head.”

An angry commenter also chimed in saying:

“Ive never rolled my eyes so hard than I did this morning hearing man that shot Ralph Yarl was “fearing for his life” A teenager fucking knocked on your door by mistake. Are you gonna shoot the UPS delivery guy too if he’s black? For coming to your door? fragile little bitch.”

One user simply said the shooting of Yarl and others in similar cases are “not normal.” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas stepped in and challenged the controversial “Stand Your Ground” Law, saying every postal worker, and/or delivery person can be subject to getting shot.

On April 18, students at Staley High School, where Yarl attends, organized a walkout in support of Yarl. 

All Too Familiar

One similar story to Yarl’s is Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman on Feb. 26, 2012, after Zimmerman followed him in his neighborhood in Sanford, Fla.  

Martin and Yarl’s cases involve teenage Black boys being shot by older White men who felt that they shouldn’t be in their neighborhood.