Stats: Most self-defense killings between people of same race

The “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial has sparked protests around the country, including here in Minneapolis.  Local demonstrators also continued to protest the death of Terrance Franklin, who died during a police-involved shooting on May 10.  The two officers involved in the shooting were also wounded.

Demonstrators say the deaths of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by Zimmerman in what jurors determined to be a justifiable homicide, and Franklin are linked.  Both were young, black men who died violently.   And demonstrators say both men were racially profiled by the people who killed them.  The investigation into the Franklin case awaits a Hennepin County grand jury review.  However, since 2000, Hennepin County has yet to bring criminal charges against Minneapolis police officers who have killed someone in the line of duty.

The MPD hasn’t released the names or race of the two officers involved in the Franklin shooting.

According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (p.33), between 1980 and 2008, most justifiable homicides – or those killings legally determined to be done in self defense – occur between people of the same race.

In incidents where non-police officers killed people in self defense, 75 percent of the time, the two people were of the same race.

In officer-involved justifiable homicides, two-thirds involved officers and suspects of the same race.

The BJS also found that most homicides are also intra-racial:

93 percent of African American homicide victims were killed by other African Americans

84 percent of white homicide victims were killed by other whites

Reported violent crime across the country has been on a steady decline since the early to mid 1990s.  And according to a report released last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth homicides (ages 10-24) as a whole continue to decline.  However, that decline is slower for black men and boys.

  • MatthewZabka

    Very informative piece Mr. Williams. Thank you.