Study: “Stand Your Ground” Three Times More Likely to Protect Whites than Blacks
By Victor Trammell
State legislators in the 31 U.S. states with the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws would probably say that the controversial self-defense laws were designed to protect people of all races. However, statistical data proves that such a statement is completely false.
According to a study conducted for the PBS program Frontline, white people who kill non-white people are 354 percent more likely to be legally justified in a “self-defense” case than a white person who kills another white person. This credible conclusion was drawn from homicide data collected by the FBI from 2005 to 2009.
The Frontline study was conducted by John Roman, a senior analyst at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. Roman’s research sought to find patterns of racial inequality in the 43,500 homicides that were recorded in the FBI’s data. He then narrowed his sample size to 5000 homicides, which occurred in the same 2005 to 2009 time frame.
In the each of the homicides for the new 5000-case sample size, there was a single shooter and a single victim who did not know one another. Roman then analyzed all the homicides defined as “justified.” A justifiable homicide is classified as a shooting by a citizen that kills a felon who is in the process of committing a felony.
In analyzing the “justified” homicide cases, Roman found that whites that killed blacks were much more likely to be cleared of any charges than blacks who killed whites. The data to support these findings was overwhelming. Frontline then asked Roman to analyze the data again to look for racial inequalities in comparing the states with “Stand Your Ground” laws to the states without them.
Roman used the 43,500-case sample size to compare the data. He found that whites who kill blacks in states without “Stand Your Ground” laws are 250 percent more likely to be found justified than a white person who kills another white person. However, in the ”Stand Your Ground” states, that figure soars to 354 percent.
Numbers indeed do not lie, and this study uses verifiable and consistent data to prove the fact that severe racial inequality still exists in the American criminal justice system. Supporters of “Stand Your Ground” and political pundits may be able to argue their denials that such a race problem is a reality. However, they cannot argue with facts that derive from the necessary discipline of mathematics.