Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., CMI-V, BCFT, CFA
Forensic Criminologist/Police Practices Expert
Copyright © 09-21-15
There has been much controversy, and even violent rhetoric of late, associated with a lingering comment from the Black Lives Matter movement and forwarded by liberal anti-police activists that “Every 28 hours a black man is killed by police.”
In my recent article, Police Kill Unarmed Black Men Every 28 Hours, Comment Debunked as Pseudo Research, I report that this statistic was offered by writer Arlene Eisen in a report she authored for the radical Malcolm X Grassroots Movement entitled, Operation Ghetto Storm. When challenged, Ms. Eisen conceded that her contrived statistic that “A black man is killed every 28 hours by police” was not accurate. However, Ms. Eisen never removed or corrected her inaccurate and biased report from the Internet. Such behavior is unethical for any writer, much less a person presenting herself as a socio-criminal “researcher.”
Unfortunately, the incorrect “Every 28 hours” statistic went viral when it was repeated by liberal Morehouse College, GA Professor Marc Lamont Hill during a CNN debate in August, 2014. Even though Professor Hill, later, also conceded that the statistic was in error; neither writer Eisen nor the good professor ever set the record straight. This false comment and statistic is now repeatedly forwarded by militants, black activists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement when protesting against police brutality upon blacks.
After conducting socio-criminal research on police-involved death cases and black homicides nationally, I found significant differences between what is being falsely presented by anti-police activists and an uninformed media; and the actual known forensic facts of the circumstances of the deaths of black men.
After researching and debunking the false narrative that police kill unarmed black men “every 28 hours,” I decided to dig deeper to discover what the factual statistics were for black men being murdered in non-police related violent crimes. My findings should be both startling and disturbing to the black community. The statistics also provide the reader with better context when comparing incidents of police-involved deaths of blacks; to black on black homicides.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently about 21.5 million black males in the U.S. This equates to black males comprising roughly only 6% of our nation’s total population.
The Department of Justice/FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicate that between 2009 and 2012, there were a total of 40,300 homicides of males. Of these, 22,020 of the victims were identified as black males. Therefore, during those four years, black male homicides made up approximately 54.6% of all male homicides, and 42.2% of all homicides (male/female) in the United States. Extrapolating these figures into a 365 days a year, 24 hours in a day equation; we discover that one black male is actually murdered every 95.5 minutes; and 15 black males are killed every day.
In conducting similar socio-criminal research, University of Toledo criminologist Professor Richard Johnson, Ph.D., found that 90% of black male homicides are committed by another black male.
Despite recent controversy created by black activists and biased pseudo “researchers” who claim that a disproportionate number black males die in police encounters each year; the mainstream media rarely, if ever, scrutinize their fabricated statistics. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) document that only 32.2% of the 1,491 total officer-involved deaths of citizens between the years 2009 – 2012 were black males.
More white males die during encounters with police. In fact, as I have previously researched and written, private citizens actually kill more black males in self-defense asserted uses of deadly force than police do.
U.S. DOJ/FBI and UCR reports and NIBRS data was collected on homicide rates of black males nationwide; the number of days each year for the years 2009 – 2012, along with the total hours for that four year period were calculated. Next, Professor Johnson’s black homicide statistics were integrated into our formula in order to obtain a more accurate figure for the rate of black on black homicides per twenty-four hour period. It is important to note that our statistics also include previously unreported multiple homicides per incident when those circumstances were documented to have occurred.
When the number of 22,020 black male victims is divided by 4 (2009-2012) you come to 5,505 black male victims per year. Divide this number by the days in a year (365) we find that 15 black males, on average, are killed daily. Further extrapolate by finding that there are 1,440 minutes in a day and divide this number by 15 and you will find that a black man is killed every 96 minutes, or 1.5 hours.
The often shouted protest refrain of militant activists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement that “Black Lives Matter!” rings hollow against the forensically factual and disquieting statistics of an increasingly rising black on black homicide rate nationwide over the past few years. Unfortunately, this dangerous trend shows no sign of receding anytime soon.
The fact is that the black community has far more to worry about from criminals within its own ranks than it does from police who risk their lives daily to protect all members of society. This is certainly not to suggest that policing cannot be improved nationally. Tell me what profession cannot improve to better serve the public. However, it is high time to begin an honest, sincere and helpful conversation, absent all of the false narratives rhetoric, on how real police-community relations can be improved to the benefit of all.
If the black community is ever to prevail over the lawless criminal elements holding their neighborhoods hostage; or ever hope to restore the peace and tranquility of their environs; then they must recognize that anti-police and anti-rule of law movements like Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other radical, Marxist groups preaching false rhetoric and hate bring nothing to the table except the promise of further strife, violence, destruction of property and isolation. If you read the papers, watch new reports and read the crime statistics, you will see crime has risen in every community visited by members of the BLM movement and other radical and/or violent groups that associate with them.
The black and other minority communities threatened by gang bangers, drug dealers, other violent criminals and radical anarchists had better start to be a credible part of the solution and not continue to be a significant part of their own problems. A good first step in moving forward is to soundly renounce those who seek to exploit, polarize and isolate their communities. Next, these communities need to stop assigning blame to others and look introspectively towards recognizing the historic factors that constitute the core sources of problems that obstruct many from moving positively forward towards neighborhoods free of crime, street gangs, drug addiction, single parent households and severe unemployment.
All communities need to unite with the law enforcement, criminal justice, social service and religious communities to bring an end to this political polarization of the American people.
The black and other minority communities have a valid point in wanting police to be more tolerant and progressive in their interactions with them. However, all citizens must also understand that police do not create society’s problems; they merely respond to them. Respect is a two way street. When citizens demonstrate their respect of and compliance with authority; resistance and the use of force never occurs. That’s just common sense.
Finally, I think we can all agree that ALL lives matter in American society.
About the Author
Ron Martinelli, Ph.D., CMI-V, BCFT, CFA, is a nationally recognized forensic criminologist and Certified Medical Investigator who directs the nation’s only civilian multidisciplinary Forensic Death Investigations & Independent Review Team. Dr. Martinelli specializes in officer-involved shootings and in-custody death investigations and has personally investigated over 200 such incidents nationwide. Visit his site at www.DrRonMartinelli to read more.
“An unarmed black person is shot ‘every 28 hours’ says Marc Lamont Hill,” Sanders, Katie, © 08-26-14, After the Fact
“The viral claim that a black person is killed by police ‘every 28 hours’,” Ye Hee Lee, Michelle, © 12-24-14, FactChecker.com
“1 Black Man is Killed Every 28 Hours by Police or Vigilantes: America is Perpetually at War with its Own People,” Hudson, Adam, © 05-28-13, Alternet.org
“Examining the Prevalence of Death from Police Use of Force,” Johnson, Richard, Ph.D., © 2015, University of Toledo,
U.S. Department of Justice, FBI Uniform Crime Report Supplemental Homicide Reports and U.S. Center for Disease Control Death Classifications, Jan., 2009 – Jan. 2012, inclusive
National Safety Council, Injury Facts (2012), www.nsc.org