House Minority Caucus
Rep. Ashley Aune
Rep. Jamie Johnson
Rep. Maggie Nurrenbern
Rep. Eric Woods
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Reps. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City; Jamie Johnson, D-Kansas City; Maggie Nurrenbern, D-Kansas City; and Eric Woods, D-Kansas City released the following joint statement on the felony charges filed by Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zach Thompson in relation to the attack on Ralph Yarl:
“By all accounts, Ralph Yarl is an outstanding young citizen: a terrific student, a talented musician, and a good friend, brother, and son. But regardless of who he is and what he’s accomplished in his young life, no one should have to suffer the gruesome and senseless act of violence Ralph did last Thursday.
“Far too many young Missourians must endure gun violence. In fact, guns are the number one cause of death in the state for children. Ralph almost became a part of a horrifying statistic.
“And while we may want to think that race did not play a factor, it is naive to assume that a white teenager in the same situation would face the same violence. This is a time when we must be willing to have hard conversations about racism in this country and, sadly, in our communities. We stand with the Black community and everyone crying out for justice.
“We commend Prosecuting Attorney Thompson, who expedited this investigation and filed charges at a proper level that show our county and its communities will not tolerate this violence. We also commend the Kansas City Police Department for their transparency and for the speed with which they conducted their investigation.
“But the work that must occur in our community goes far beyond the work of the prosecuting attorney and law enforcement. We need to thoughtfully examine the culture and policies in our state that perpetuate the shoot-first, ask-later mentality present in this incident. Violent crime, especially gun crime, is rising across the state and communities of color are often disproportionately impacted. The only way to permanently address this issue is to work together across political divides to find real solutions to big problems.
“So while we wait and hope that Ralph Yarl and his family receive the justice they deserve, we must also work towards a more just society so these tragedies do not occur again.”
For additional information, contact:
April 17, 2023 Rep. Woods at (573) 751-2199