‘You black men might be better off at home after a certain hour’: Outrage as California newspaper calls for a ‘minority curfew’ after unarmed Stephon Clark was shot dead by police
- A Sacramento-area weekly newspaper has caused controversy with an opinion column that seems to suggest black man go on a self-imposed curfew
- Columnist Marcia Courson was responding to the case of Stephon Clark, 22, who was killed by police in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18
- Rancho Murieta have started an online petition for Courson to be dismissed
- Publisher Dave Herburger said he does not condone her comments
A northern California newspaper is facing backlash after publishing a controversial opinion piece in response to the killing of an unarmed black man by police.
The Valley Times, a weekly newspaper published in Rancho Murieta, near Sacramento, is in hot water for one particular line published on Wednesday that appears to suggest black men should go on a self-imposed curfew.
‘Police have to be careful not to overact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour,’ wrote columnist Marcia Courson, who has been a freelance writer for the paper for 10 years.
Columnist Marcia Courson, 75, seemed to to suggest black man go on a self-imposed curfew
Courson was was responding to the case of Stephon Clark, 22, who was killed by police in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18, sparking protests in the area
‘We must not assume immediately a policeman has no reason to confront a suspect. Hard to know what a young man wondering the streets at night might be up to’ she added in the column that delved into the importance of understanding the news and thinking before reacting.
Courson was referring, particularly, to the case of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was shot dead by police in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento on March 18, sparking outrage and protests in the area.
Members of the gated community where the paper circulates have started a petition for Courson, 75, to be dismissed as a columnist.
The petition reads: ‘[Courson’s] gross generalizations, simplistic solutions, and misrepresentations show a lack of ability to think critically and she constantly gives us her indignant, righteous version of truth. Her comments are an insult to our community’.
‘Police have to be careful not to overact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour,’ wrote Courson. (Stephon Clark is pictured after being shot by Sacramento cops)
Clark’s death has sparked protests in the Sacramento area, which Courson seemed to oppose
‘To imply that a solution to black males being shot by police is to have a racial curfew is irresponsible, ignorant, and divisive,’ adds the petition, which 203 signatures.
Rancho Murieta has a population of about 5,000, with 89 per cent of residents being white and just one percent being black, as reported by The Sacramento Bee.
Courson has not responded to requests for comments.
Publisher Dave Herburger told CBS13 that the newspaper does not condone ‘the notion of a minority curfew’, adding that he made a call in the morning to say he was upset about the piece.
‘[The column] is the definition of tone deaf on this issue,’ he said.
Herburger also said that no editor got to read the column before it was published due to a short staff and that a piece apologizing for the column will be published next week.
Next Page: ‘They shot an innocent man’: Neighbor who made the 911 call which led to unarmed Stephon Clark being shot dead by police speaks of his regret