Statement of Executive Vice President Rev. John Vaughn
NEW YORK — Last week, an independent autopsy revealed that Stephon Clark was struck by eight bullets fired by Sacramento police officers. He was hit in the back six times. Auburn Executive Vice President, the Rev. John Vaughn, issued the following statement in response:
“Stephon Clark was gunned down by police officers, who claim they feared Mr. Clark was a threat. Cloaked in their claim of fear they seek to justify shooting a young Black man in his grandmother’s backyard. Auburn Seminary joins the legions of protestors and we stand with faith-rooted voices in calling for justice and — more importantly — immediate action to stop the state-sanctioned shootings of Black people.
“We must not let fear shield law enforcement from accountability. I encourage leaders in Sacramento — and other communities struggling with such police violence — to reach out across governmental, faith and community lines to form partnerships to stop the violence. We look to places like Prince George’s County, Maryland, where they have nearly eliminated such killings, as models for successful, peaceful solutions.
“As a Black, Baptist clergy person who is also a father of two, Black teenage boys, I am deeply concerned that the tragedy of police shootings of unarmored Black men and women continues unabated in the United States. On the eve of the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, the tragic reality is that my sons and me are branded as threats to be feared rather than as community members worthy of respect. We can and must stop the racism that is killing us.
“After commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus in Christian communities this past Sunday, let this be another opportunity for us to live and believe that what seems impossible can indeed become possible.”
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