A California newspaper columnist apparently believes that a curfew for black men would help in reducing the amount of minority deaths by law enforcement in the wake of Stephon Clark’s shooting death.
Clark was shot and killed March 18 by Sacramento police officers, who were responding to a call about someone breaking car windows nearby when they encountered Clark in the backyard of a home. Cops opened fire on Clark after being told he had a gun, but Clark was actually unarmed.
A freelance writer for Rancho Murieta’s River Valley Times wrote that while police are responsible for avoiding excessive force, minorities might well want to consider staying home “after a certain hour,” according to KOVR-TV.
The writer, Marcia Courson, penned the opinion piece, which has stirred up a firestorm of controversy since it’s been published. Courson is a 10-year freelance veteran at the paper.
According to KOVR, a portion of Courson’s op-ed reads, “Police have to be careful not to overact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour.”
Another portion of the op-ed adds, “We must not immediately assume a policeman has no reason to confront a suspect. Hard to know what a young man wandering the streets at night might be up to and if he has a gun.”
What are others saying about this?
David Lee, local resident, told KOVR that the op-ed was “just disgusting. Why would you say something like that?”
Brandon Cager, another resident — who is black — said that his family doesn’t subscribe to that idea, and has never had an issue living in Rancho Murieta.
“We’ve lived out here, what, a year and a half and been welcomed and never had any issues on that,” Cager told KOVR.
What did the paper say?
Dave Herburger, the River Valley Times’ publisher, said that neither he nor the paper agrees with Courson’s controversial suggestion.
“We don’t condone the notion of a minority curfew,” Herburger said. “[The column] is the definition of tone deaf on this issue.”
Herburger said that he called Courson the morning after her op-ed ran to tell her that he was very upset, and noted that the piece only ran because the paper was short-staffed and with no editor to read over the column prior to it going to print.
“It reminds me of Nazi Germany,” an extremely apologetic Herburger told KTXL-TV.
He added that a follow-up will be printed in the upcoming edition.
Herburger said that he was not sure if Courson will face disciplinary action as a result of her op-ed.