Blacks Benefit from Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law at Disproportionate Rate

Patrick Howley, Daily Caller, July 16, 2013

African Americans benefit from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law at a rate far out of proportion to their presence in the state’s population, despite an assertion by Attorney General Eric Holder that repealing “Stand Your Ground” would help African Americans.

Black Floridians have made about a third of the state’s total “Stand Your Ground” claims in homicide cases, a rate nearly double the black percentage of Florida’s population. The majority of those claims have been successful, a success rate that exceeds that for Florida whites.

Nonetheless, prominent African Americans including Holder and “Ebony and Ivory” singer Stevie Wonder, who has vowed not to perform in the Sunshine State until the law is revoked, have made “Stand Your Ground” a central part of the Trayvon Martin controversy.

Holder, who was pressured by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other progressive groups to open a civil rights case against acquitted neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin, criticized Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law in a speech Tuesday before the NAACP.

The law was not invoked by Zimmerman’s defense team but was included in instructions to the jury.

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But approximately one third of Florida “Stand Your Ground” claims in fatal cases have been made by black defendants, and they have used the defense successfully 55 percent of the time, at the same rate as the population at large and at a higher rate than white defendants, according to a Daily Caller analysis of a database maintained by the Tampa Bay Times.  Additionally, the majority of victims in Florida “Stand Your Ground” cases have been white.

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One hundred thirty three people in the state of Florida have used a “Stand Your Ground” defense. Of these claims, 73 were considered “justified” (55 percent), while 39 resulted in criminal convictions and 21 cases are still pending.

Forty four African Americans in the state of Florida have claimed a “Stand Your Ground” defense. Of these claims, 24 were considered “justified” (55 percent), while 11 resulted in convictions and nine cases are still pending.

Of the 76 white people who have used the defense, 40 were considered “justified” (less than 53 percent), while 25 were convicted and 11 cases are still pending.

Ten Hispanics have used the defense, seven of them successfully, according to the database, which included George Zimmerman as a “Stand Your Ground” defendant.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” cases have resulted in 78 white victims against 40 black victims, including Martin, and 10 Hispanic victims.

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