WASHINGTON: The National Council of Churches (NCC) expresses its outrage at the killing by police of an unarmed young black man, Stephon Clark, in Sacramento, California. Reports indicate police officers fired twenty bullets into his body while he was in the backyard of his grandparents’ home.
As his family funeralizes him today, we pray they will be comforted and find peace. We support calls by Stephon Clark’s family and by the mayor of Sacramento for a complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. We are deeply disturbed to know that least 230 people have been fatally shot nationwide by police in the first several months of 2018.
The militarization of local police departments and overcriminalization of minor offenses in our criminal justice system has created a great chasm between law enforcement authorities and the communities they have pledged to serve and protect. The NCC is committed to working to change systems that perpetuate racism and violence.
A recent study undertaken by Boston University shows a strong correlation between factors consistent with structural racism and shootings of people of color by police. It is incidents like these, and numerous other forms that illustrate how pervasive systemic racism is in our society, that have led us into a multi-year campaign to end the scourge of racism. On April 4, the 50th year since Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, we will launch this effort with the #Rally2EndRacism and do our part to finish the work of so many who have gone before us to ensure justice for all.