Sophia Bush Speaks Out About Stephon Clark Shooting: ‘We Have a Problem’

Sophia Bush, Stephon Clark
Sophia Bush DARA / BACKGRID

Sophia Bush penned an emotional message in tribute to Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old who was shot dead on March 18 by Sacramento police who mistakenly believed the unarmed man was a threat.

The Chicago P.D. star, 35, shared a photo of the victim on Instagram on Friday, March 30, and addressed the newly released autopsy report that revealed Clark was shot eight times in the back.

The autopsy results on #StephonClark were made public today. He was shot in the back and neck 8 times. He was shot at 20 times. Eight bullets hit him in the BACK and NECK. Eight. Each doing enough damage to his flesh and bones and nerves and arteries to end his life. • The autopsy estimates that he lived for 3-10 minutes after that, but was he not given any medical treatment by the officers who shot him for 5 minutes after the last shot was fired. He was handcuffed before they began treating his wounds. He died in handcuffs in his grandmother’s backyard. • The police were looking for someone else. A helicopter above saw a man in a yard. There are lots of families in lots of yards across our country. But the police went into this yard and shot this man who they were not looking for. Who simply had his cell phone in his hand. They claim they mistook a phone for a gun. A cell phone in a man’s hand, for a gun with a barrel that would have protruded from a hand. They justified firing 20 bullets at him because of the “fear” that the potential of a gun caused. But they shot him in the back. So the phone that wasn’t a gun certainly wasn’t pointed at any of them. • I don’t care if you know wonderful police officers — so do I. Men and women who I love and deeply believe in — I don’t care if you think this is too hot an issue, too political, too tense. I care that a young father of two was massacred in his grandma’s backyard because a group of men with guns entered his property, did not identify themselves as law enforcement — as evidenced by the tape — and shot a man in the BACK, claiming they were “in fear for their lives.” • No matter where you stand, who you love, or how angry you are, it’s impossible to ignore that we have a major societal problem when a young black father minding his own business with a cellphone in his hand is executed and a white mass murderer with an AR-15 is calmly handcuffed and then called the victim of bullying. We have a problem. I don’t claim to have the answer when asked how we should fix it. But we must do the work. This, too, is gun violence. #SayHisName #BlackLivesMatter #MarchForOurLives

A post shared by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on

“The police were looking for someone else. A helicopter above saw a man in a yard. There are lots of families in lots of yards across our country. But the police went into this yard and shot this man who they were not looking for. Who simply had his cell phone in his hand. They claim they mistook a phone for a gun. A cell phone in a man’s hand, for a gun with a barrel that would have protruded from a hand,” Bush wrote. “They justified firing 20 bullets at him because of the ‘fear’ that the potential of a gun caused. But they shot him in the back. So the phone that wasn’t a gun certainly wasn’t pointed at any of them.”

Anticipating an onslaught of comments from people who would defend law enforcement members, Bush addressed naysayers by writing, “I don’t care if you think this is too hot an issue, too political, too tense. I care that a young father of two was massacred in his grandma’s backyard because a group of men with guns entered his property, did not identify themselves as law enforcement — as evidenced by the tape — and shot a man in the BACK, claiming they were ‘in fear for their lives.’

“No matter where you stand, who you love, or how angry you are, it’s impossible to ignore that we have a major societal problem when a young black father minding his own business with a cellphone in his hand is executed and a white mass murderer with an AR-15 is calmly handcuffed and then called the victim of bullying,” she continued, referring to Nikolas Cruz, who gunned down 17 students and faculty in a school shooting on February 14. “We have a problem.”

She added: “I don’t claim to have the answer when asked how we should fix it. But we must do the work. This, too, is gun violence.” Bush concluded the post by including the hashtags #SayHisName #BlackLivesMatter and #MarchForOurLives. The John Tucker Must Die actress attended the March for Our Lives protest on March 24, where she joined thousands of people across the country who are seeking to end gun violence and calling for tougher gun laws.

The day before Bush spoke out about Clark, she defended her former One Tree Hill costar Hilarie Burton, who was criticized for saying she would not be attending a “girl power”-themed fan convention because she believed it was exploiting victims of sexual harassment. In November 2017, 18 members of the cast and crew of the hit show came together to write a letter, published by Variety, accusing showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment.

In response to backlash aimed at Burton, Bush wrote a lengthy statement that said, “You want to throw a ‘women’s empowerment’ event but bash a woman who said that the way it’s been handled doesn’t feel good to her? A woman whose personal victimization took the world’s stage this past fall? Whose sisterhood circled around her, and each other, to see to it that he be stopped from treating other women in such a way? How. Dare. You.”

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!