A Racial Disparity in Justified Killings?


Black Americans are significantly less likely to be found justified in the deadly use of a firearm than white Americans, according to research by John Roman, of the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center.

Roman examined Supplementary Homicide Reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation between 2005 and 2010. He posted his findings on the Urban Institute's MetroTrends Blog.

Roman found that “the difference between rates of justifiable rulings in cases with a white shooter and a black victim and cases with a black shooter and a white victim are astonishing.”

In cases in which both the shooter and victim are white, the shooting is ruled to be justified less than 2 percent of the time, according to Roman. If the shooter is black and the victim is white, the shooting considered justified about 1 percent of the time.

“However, if the shooter is white and the victim is black, it is ruled justified in 9.5 percent of cases in non-Stand Your Ground (SYG) states. In SYG states, the rate is even higher—almost 17 percent,” writes Roman.

In cases in which the shooter and victim are strangers and neither is law enforcement the disparity is even larger. Roman found that in cases with black shooters and white victims, less than 3 percent were ruled justified. But when the roles are reversed, 29 percent in non-SYG states were ruled justified, and almost 36 percent in SYG states.

Read the full post HERE.

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