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Newspaper Column Calls For Minority Curfew After Stephon Clark Shooting

RANCHO MURIETA (CBS13) — Inside the pages of the small, weekly Rancho Murieta newspaper the River Valley Times, the sentence generating big backlash is an opinion piece written in response to the police shooting of Stephon Clark.

It reads, "police have to be careful not to overact and you black men might be better off at home after a certain hour."

The line is drawing a swift reaction.

David Lee and his family live in the gated community where the paper is circulated.

"Just disgusting," he said. "I mean, that's how I feel about it."

According to The Sacramento Bee, the latest census data shows 89 percent of residents who live in Rancho Murieta are white. One percent are black.

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Brandon Cager is part of that one percent with his family and says the column doesn't reflect the community.

"We've lived out here what, a year and a half and been welcomed and never had any issues on that," Cager said.

Marcia Courson wrote the controversial column. She did not respond to CBS13 calls seeking a comment.

Her boss, publisher Dave Herburger did.

"We don't condone the notion of a minority curfew," Herburger said in a phone interview.

"(The column) is the definition of tone deaf on this issue."

"I called in the morning and let her know I was upset," Herburger said.

Herburger took blame for allowing the piece to be published, citing a short staff, that left no editor to read the column before it went to print.

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Courson has been a freelance writer for the paper for 10 years.

A small town columnist choosing the high-profile Stephon Clark shooting for her subject is leaving readers seeking an explanation.

"Why would you say something like that," Lee said.

Herburger said he expected an explanation for readers to be printed in next week's edition. He had not determined if the Courson will face discipline.

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