The grandson of Andrew Lester, the Kansas City man who shot Black teen Ralph Yarl after Yarl went to the wrong house to pick up his brothers, has described his grandfather as a QAnon racist who obsessively watches Fox News—which, of course, is not terribly shocking news to anyone who isn’t a QAnon racist who obsessively watches Fox News.
During an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, Lester’s grandson, Klint Ludwig, called the shooting “a horrible tragedy that never should have happened,” which prompted Lemon to ask Ludwig why he’s speaking out against his own relative.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Ludwig said. “In this country, it happens over and over again where people get away with killing unarmed innocent Black people, and I would have had the same energy for any other case like I’ve had over and over again in this country.”
“I believe he holds racist tendencies and beliefs,” he said in response to Lemon asking him if he believes Lester is racist. “He’s just a stock American Christian male. It’s an older, you know, that’s just how they are. It’s the conspiracies and weird, random, racist things they say, and it doesn’t make sense, but they’re just scared.” Ludwig also mentioned that his grandfather is an avid viewer of the “news” network that just settled a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems, which accused Fox News of helping to spread Donald Trump’s lies about voting machines being rigged against him during the 2020 election.
“I feel like a lot of people of that generation are caught up in this 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia perpetuated by some other news stations,” he said. “And he was fully into that, sitting and watching Fox News all day, every day blaring in his living room. And I think that stuff really kind of reinforces this negative view of minority groups and leads people to be all—that doesn’t necessarily lead people to be racist, but it reinforces and galvanizes racist people and their beliefs.”
Yeeeeah—and it’s also extremely possible that men like that would shoot a Black teen on sight for no other reason than the teen rang his doorbell.
Ludwig went on to say that Andrew Lester, who, on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and criminal armed action, is also a QAnon conspiracy theory who has made racist comments in his presence, which has strained their relationship as grandfather and grandson.
Ludwig talked about his grandfather’s alleged racism during a recent interview with The Kansas City Star, which also interviewed Ludwig’s older brother and another relative, who said they don’t believe race had anything to do with the shooting.
“I really didn’t know what to think when I heard about this,” Dean Smith, Lester’s nephew, told the Star. “It just kind of shocked me. You don’t expect something like that.”
“Eighty-four years old, living by himself,” he continued, adding that it would “be hard for me to believe” that Lester is racist.
“He’s worked with so many people,” Smith said. “He’s been a supervisor and all over different races. He’s just a really straightforward, everyday person. He was just retired military, trying to get on with life.”
So, basically, Smith is going with the “he was in fear for his life” and “he can’t be racist because he has Black friends” excuses for why his relative shot a Black teen twice after he did nothing but ring his doorbell. Actually, Smith’s reasoning sounds even more ridiculous because he’s implying his grandfather isn’t racist because he’s been the boss of non-white people.
Meanwhile, Lester’s ex-wife, 81-year-old Mary Clayton, who married Lester when she was young, had three children with him, and hasn’t spoken to him in decades, said he was a violent man who she was afraid of.
“I was always scared of him,” Clayton told the New York Times. “It doesn’t surprise me what happened.” She also said Lester was prone to breaking things in their home after erupting in fits of rage.
As we previously reported, law enforcement officials, including Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson, have said there is a “racial component” to the shooting of Yarl, who, thankfully, survived and is now at home recovering. And, again, it should surprise no one that a possible (and likely) racist who shot a Black kid for no reason might also be an angry and violent bigot from MAGA America, which is all too often associated with angry and violent bigots.
Lester is now free on bond and is due back in court in June.
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