As protests erupt over the shooting death of a black teenager in Kansas City who mistakenly rang the wrong doorbell while picking up his younger siblings, celebrities and other public figures have taken to social media to demand justice. Ralph Earle.
The 16-year-old, whose family members identified him by name, was shot by the homeowner on Thursday night. Earl wanted to pick up his twin brothers from a home in the 1100 block of NE 115th Terrace and ended up at the wrong address, his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, wrote online. According to reports, the teenager was admitted to the hospital with injuries after the shooting Kansas City Star. Officials have not confirmed details of his condition.
Actors Halle Berry and Kerry Washington drew attention to the case on Twitter and urged their followers to urge law enforcement officials to hold the shooter legally accountable. They asked followers to contact Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson.
“His name is #RalphYarl and I’m sick and tired of feeling this way…my heart completely breaks when I find out this precious 16 year old, who accidentally knocked on the door at the wrong address in an attempt to pick up his siblings, was shot in the head… Person who didn’t want him on his property,” Berry wrote in a series of tweets shared Sunday night.
His name is #RalphYarl and I am sick and tired of this feeling…my heart completely broke when I learned that this precious 16 year old, who accidentally knocked on the door at the wrong address in an attempt to pick up his siblings, was shot in the head… (1/3) pic. twitter.com/4VaZo7EFVE
— Halle Berry (@Halleberry) April 17, 2023
“Instead of waiting for #LoveIsBlind…make a phone call. For #RalphYarl. Demand that the prosecutor arrest Zachary Thompson and bring appropriate charges,” Washington tweeted.
Thompson released a statement Monday saying his office had not yet received a criminal referral from the Kansas City Police Department regarding the case. We are actively working with law enforcement in an effort to expedite that process,” Thompson wrote.
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, called for justice in a message shared on Twitter about Earle’s case.
“This means the man who did this should be charged and we need to work for a change of heart and legislature to prevent these tragedies.”
#RalphEarl. My goodness… let’s be for justice, which is a continuation. This means the person who did this should be charged and we need to work for a change of heart and legislature to prevent these tragedies.
Use the contact information below… https://t.co/MSsdbCFKvy pic.twitter.com/sBVMrEM0XK
— Be a King (@BerniceKing) April 17, 2023
Meanwhile, Missouri Republican Marlene Terry, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, said in a statement that Earle’s shooting “is why policies like ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ so-called ‘stand your ground’ laws do more harm than good,” CBS affiliate KCTV reported. “Stand your ground” laws, which exist in Missouri, allow the use of deadly force in certain circumstances in self-defense or to protect property.
“Once again, the state of Missouri has witnessed the shooting of an unarmed black, male teenager because he knocked on the wrong door while picking up his siblings,” Terry said in the statement.
Authorities have not confirmed how many times Earl was shot, nor have they released any identifying information about the shooter. Civil rights lawyer Ben Crumpwho represented the family bullet victim In several highly publicized cases, including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Trayvon Martin, told The Star that Earle’s family held him and, based on what they shared with him, the shooter was white.
“It’s inevitable not to acknowledge racial dynamics in sports,” Crump told the newspaper.
No charges have been filed against the attacker. The homeowner was taken into custody Thursday and held for 24 hours before being released, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said at a news conference Sunday.
Graves said Sunday that the police department is preparing evidence for prosecutors, adding that the investigation into the shooting will examine whether race played a role. Investigators will also consider whether the homeowner is protected by “stand your ground” laws, according to the police chief.
“I want everyone to know I’m listening,” Graves said, “and I understand the concerns we’re getting from the community.”