Numerous national media outlets have reported on the case of Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot by police in his south Sacramento backyard Sunday night. He was unarmed, holding a cell phone.
Add the news satire organization The Onion to the list.
Its online post on Thursday reads, “NAACP Issues Travel Warning For Black Americans Visiting Own Backyards,” a clear reference to the Clark case.
“In response to a number of disturbing incidents occurring in the area, civil rights organization NAACP issued a travel advisory Thursday warning black Americans to exercise extreme caution when visiting their own backyards,” The Onion piece says.
The satire even includes a fake quote from real-life NAACP president Derrick Johnson, who reportedly recommended those visiting their own personal property do so empty-handed.
“We urge African Americans to be very careful and vigilant when venturing out onto your patios, decks, and even front porches ... We strongly advise against running or making any sudden movements while you’re in the yard behind your house. Additionally, please take a careful, methodical approach to mowing the lawn or hanging up laundry,” Johnson’s quote reads.
In reality, the organization Johnson helms made headlines late last year by issuing travel warnings for blacks headed to Missouri or flying on American Airlines.
Clark’s death and the conduct of the two involved officers, who fired a total of 20 shots at him, have drawn nationwide coverage from virtually every major media outlet in the United States, including The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN.
Police believe Clark had been breaking car windows and a sliding glass door in the surrounding Meadowview neighborhood, and the officers who shot Clark — revealed Friday to be Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet — fired under the impression he was holding a gun.
The Rev. Al Sharpton has announced plans to visit Sacramento whenever a date is set for a memorial. Clark’s family has retained the services of attorney Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown after they were fatally shot by police.
The Onion ends on a somber note implying African Americans weren’t safe inside their homes either.
“At press time, a violent incident involving law enforcement necessitated an expansion of the travel warning into living rooms,” it says.
Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, firstname.lastname@example.org