Killings by Whites Deemed “Justified” Far more Often than Killings by Blacks

Friday, July 19, 2013

Among homicide shootings in the United States, there is a wide discrepancy in those incidents deemed justified if the shooter is white and the victim black, compared to the other way around.


In cases with a white shooter and a white victim, the shooting is ruled to be justified less than 2% of the time, according to data contained in Supplemental Homicide Reports submitted by local law enforcement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2005 and 2010.


When the shooter is black and the victim is white, the rate of justifiable homicide rulings drops to almost 1%.


But if the shooter is white and the victim is black, the killing is ruled justified in 9.5% of cases in non-Stand Your Ground (SYG) states.


In SYG states, the rate is even higher—almost 17%, according to John Roman at MetroTrends Blog.


In firearm-related killings in which the shooter and the victim are strangers, such as the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, Roman notes that “a little less than 3 percent of black-on-white homicides are ruled to be justified. When the races are reversed, the percentage of cases that are ruled to be justified climbs to more than 29 percent in non-SYG states and almost 36 percent in SYG states.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Is American Criminal Justice Color-Blind? The Statistics Say No (by John Roman, MetroTrends Blog)

Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Law Yields some Shocking Outcomes Depending on how Law is Applied

Uneven Application, Shocking Outcomes (Tampa Bay Times)

Black Americans Given Longer Sentences than White Americans for Same Crimes (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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