for racial bias. The laws, which gained notoriety after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, eliminated the duty to retreat from a confrontation that has existed as part of the common law for hundreds of years.The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced it will launch an inquiry into so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation
According to the Commission, there are “some indicators of racial bias” in how the laws have been implemented. From the release:
Data compiled by the Wall Street Journal shows a near-doubling of justifiable homicides from 2005-2011 in states where SYG [Stand Your Ground] has passed. Moreover, their data shows that while white killers of black victims comprises only 3.1% of all homicides, such cross-racial killing constitute 15.6% of justifiable homicides.
A separate study by the FBI found “34% of cases involving a white shooter killing a black person were deemed as a justifiable homicide. Meanwhile, in similar situations, when the shooter was black and the victim was white, the homicide was ruled justifiable only 3.3% of the time.”
The committee plans to hold hearings and release the findings of their study within one year.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has also convened a committee to study Stand Your Ground but has stacked the group with supporters of the law.