John Chiang released the following statement following additional information and video emerged following the shooting of Stephon Clark. Clark, a young African American man, was shot in the backyard of his family’s home earlier this week.
“My heart breaks for Stephon Clark’s boys, his parents and his brother, his grandparents, his friends, and every other person his life was tragically taken from. I hope a fair and independent investigation will provide much-needed answers and lead down the path towards justice.
“The cruel reality is that this endless cycle of innocent African American men being shot and killed continues to happen again and again, and we are doing nothing to actually tackle the real issue at hand. Too many parents across this state and our nation must sit their children down and have a conversation about how the color of their skin can play a life or death role in their interaction with the police. While I may never know what it is like to have that conversation, I know that dialogue is a reality for far too many families.
“As a state, we must rethink the way we police, from where and how we recruit officers, to the training we provide them. From ensuring de-escalation is the first step, not an afterthought, to providing police departments with the tools necessary to do the job right. Ultimately, we need to have a real conversation about the root of this problem and why Black Lives Matter. Justice for our communities begins with accountability and engaging in this necessary conversation. We must do more to protect African American communities throughout California, renew our commitments to social justice for all, and move forward as one, or this recurring cycle will only continue.”