'You Black Men' Should Have a Curfew: California Newspaper Apologizes for Police Shooting Op-Ed
The publisher of a small weekly newspaper in Rancho Murieta, California, apologized after receiving backlash from a piece calling for a curfew on black men.
The River Valley Times's opinion piece by Marcia Courson, a white woman, addressed the March 18 shooting death of Stephon Clark, 22, who was killed by two Sacramento police officers in his grandmother’s backyard. The officers had responded to a call about a person breaking car windows and pursued Clark as a suspect before shooting him eight times. Courson's column suggested the incident could partially be blamed on black males staying outside too late into the evening.
Courson, a freelance op-ed writer for a decade, penned the controversial sentence in the print version of the newspaper last Wednesday before images of the sentence went viral online. “In Stephon’s situation, the cell phone he carried looked like a small black gun. Police have to be careful not to overreact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour.”
“So we need to ask ourselves before overreacting or advocating reduction of these shootings — Do we really understand why a shooting occurred?” Courson continued. “We must not immediately assume that a policeman has no reason to confront a suspect.”
According to the five-year U.S. Census American Community Survey, the 5,000-resident town of Rancho Murieta is home to an 89 percent white community. Only about 1 percent, or approximately 70 people, are black. River Valley Timespublisher and general manager Dave Herburger told the Sacramento Bee Friday he was responsible for running the column but hadn’t read it beforehand because the paper’s editor was out due to a family illness.
He told the Sacramento Bee the column was “not acceptable” and that “having a race-based curfew connotes Nazi Germany.” Herburger noted that when he informed Courson of his unhappiness with the “tone-deaf” column, she was “very apologetic.” He said Courson has always been a strongly opinionated writer but had never expressed any opinions similar to this in past columns. The publisher told Sacramento's KOVR-TV he’s unsure if Courson will continue writing for the newspaper, but he expects an explanation to be printed in this week’s printed edition.
Alabama everybody...Alabama governor says state shouldn't 'erase or tear down' Confederate monuments
Alabama doesn't need "folks in Washington" or "out-of-state liberals" instructing the state on what it should do with Confederate monuments, Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday.
Ivey, during a campaign appearance in Foley, defended a new campaign ad released earlier in the day that touted the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, which she signed into law less than 11 months ago.
"I believe the people agreed with that decision and support in protecting our historical monuments," Ivey said after speaking at a Baldwin County Young Republicans function. Her appearance also occurred one day before the Reckon by AL.com GOP governor's debate at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lyric Fine Arts Theatre in Birmingham. Ivey said she does not plan to attend.
"We can't and shouldn't even try to charge or erase or tear down our history. We must learn from our history," Ivey said.
The law requires local governments to obtain state permission before altering or renaming historically significant buildings and monuments that date back to 40 years or longer. The law also creates a 11-member commission which is charged with determining whether historic buildings or monuments can be moved or renamed.
Ivey, in her campaign ad, criticized Alabama outsiders for pushing an agenda on the state.
"Up in Washington, they always know better," Ivey said at the beginning of the clip. "Politically correct nonsense, I say."
She then claimed that "special interests" are pursuing the removal of the monuments.
But the law has seen plenty of opponents in Alabama, including the NAACP and members of the Alabama Black Caucus, which is an arm of the Alabama Democratic Party.
"We oppose the preservation act," said Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP. "We still oppose it. We certainly think it's an attempt to preserve the Confederacy."
The law is subject of recent litigation in Jefferson County Circuit Court, where the city of Birmingham is pitted against the Alabama Attorney General's Office. In August 2017, two months after the law was passed, then-Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park covered with plastic - later, plywood - while lawyers could explore legal options.
Bell said at the time he wasn't going to have the statue torn down, even though there were calls for its removal. A rash of Confederate monuments across the U.S. were either removed or torn down in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre in 2015.
The issue has prompted standoffs in some cities, with defenders of the monuments claiming that governments should not remove symbols of cultural heritage. Those defending their removals believe the monuments memorialize a government whose founding principles were based on the expansion of slavery.
Alabama governor defends Confederate monuments: We don't need 'out-of-state liberals' telling us what to do
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Tuesday released a campaign ad touting an act she signed last year to protect Confederate monuments in the state.
Speaking at a campaign appearance later in the day, Ivey defended the ad, criticizing “folks in Washington” and “out-of-state liberals” for attempting to interfere with the state’s historical monuments.
"We can't and shouldn't even try to charge or erase or tear down our history,” she said, according to AL.com. “We must learn from our history.”
Ivey took over Alabama's governorship after last year's resignation of Gov. Robert Bentley (R), who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. She's running for election to a full term in November.
Last May, Ivey signed the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, legislation to block local governments from removing monuments or renaming public schools that have existed for more than 40 years. The legislation came amid a national debate over whether Confederate monuments should be allowed to remain in place.
In the campaign ad released Tuesday, Ivey tears into Washington, saying it’s “politically correct nonsense” to think that they “always know better.”
“We can’t change or erase our history, but here in Alabama, we know something Washington doesn’t — to get where we’re going means understanding where we’ve been,” she says in the ad.
Ivey also blasts “special interest groups” for calling for the statues to be removed. The Alabama NAACP and the Alabama Black Caucus, an arm of the state’s Democratic Party, have both opposed the law protecting the statues.