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Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on the Ralph Yarl shooting

A man wearing a light blue suit and tie, sits inside a studio. He is gesturing with his left hand while talking at a microphone.
Carlos Moreno
Mayor Quinton Lucas says Kansas City's Board of Police Commissioners will not have an emergency meeting following the Ralph Yarl shooting, stating that the board hasn't had an emergency meeting since June of 2020.

Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager living in Kansas City's Northland, was shot twice after accidentally ringing the doorbell of the wrong home. 84-year-old named Andrew Lester is charged with two felonies in the shooting. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas joined KCUR's Up To Date to talk about the specifics of the case.

Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old Black high school student, accidentally rang the doorbell of a home in Kansas City's Northland last week and was shot twice by the home's resident, a white 84 year-old man named Andrew Lester.

Yarl was trying to pick up his twin brothers from their friend's house but arrived at the wrong address. Miraculously, he is expected to make a full recovery, despite one of the two shots hitting him in the head.

The shooting has since gained national attention, with questions circling over law enforcement's handling of the case, the role of Missouri's "Stand Your Ground" law and what it says about racism in the city.

"I think that there will be trouble establishing elements of a hate crime from a legal standpoint," Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told KCUR's Up To Date. "But had this young man not been Black, I don't think we'd all be sitting here talking about this story right now."

Lucas says he talked to "more than a few" Black parents this week about what happened to Yarl, and he's hearing similar concerns across the board.

"There's been a choice for a lot of parents to make — white and Black — about where they send their kids to school. Particularly for Black parents," said Lucas. "There is always this concern of, well, maybe I go to a school district that has better state test scores and a purportedly safer neighborhood, but what do I lose? And probably the greatest fear a parent can have is exactly what happened to Ralph: that if you move to an environment where your child is a minority, where he's different, is perceived as a threat... Is this what you had to make that sacrifice for? And, is it worth it?"

Lucas joined Up To Date to discuss the Ralph Yarl case as well as the buildup to the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Hannah Cole is an intern with KCUR's Up To Date.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
As Up To Date’s senior producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
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