In states where “stand your ground” is the law of the land, white-on-black homicides are 354 percent more likely to be ruled justified than in incidents of white-on-white homicides according to the nonprofit Urban Institute.
The Center for American Progress also reported recently that in states like Florida for example, that implemented “stand your ground” in 2005, gun violence in the state experienced a 20 percent increased—a near two decades high. As an interesting point of comparison, the state’s non-gun related murder rate declined by 45 percent during this same period.
In essence, “stand your ground” laws provide an escape clause from criminal prosecution for individuals who kill another person. Across the country “stand your ground” laws have provided a convenient self-defense option for perpetrators of white on black homicides—the most famous in recent years, the Trayvon Martin case.
Martin was a 17-year-old shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. Using a “stand your ground” defense, Zimmerman was found not guilty of Martin’s murder.
Nearly half the states in the nation now have so called “stand your ground” laws, officially referred to as the Castle Doctrine. They include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
The “stand your ground” self-defense theory lessens a person’s duty to retreat to avoid the use of deadly force and provides protections and immunities from prosecution when deadly force is used in such instances.
These laws provide legal license for the killing of Black men as they are more likely than any other demographic to become victims of “stand your ground” killings.