SHAPIRO: 11 Leftist Myths About Criminal Justice

An NYPD officer arrives for the funeral service of fallen NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen at the Church of St. Rosalie, February 20, 2019 in Hampton Bays, New York. Thousands of area police officers and law enforcement personnel attended the funeral. Simonsen was killed by friendly fire while responding with fellow NYPD officers to a robbery at a store in Queens last week. Simonsen is survived by his wife and mother and will be interned at Jamesport Cemetery in nearby Riverhead, New York.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In an effort to explain away continuing wealth and lifestyle differentials between racial groups, the Left has hit on a new narrative: the criminal justice system is to blame. The logic states that minority men are being rounded up for little reason by a white-run criminal justice system dedicated to the eradication of a burgeoning minority middle class. If it weren’t for the dastardly system, all would be well. As we will see, that’s simply not the case. Criminals are being arrested nearly universally because they are criminals. There is no widespread evidence of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. The best solution to criminal justice imbalances remains obeying the law and inculcating the value of doing so to children.

Myth 1: The criminal justice system is racist.

Fact: Individuals commit crimes, and criminals are not equally dispersed by race.

Both members of the Left and libertarians constantly argue that the criminal justice system is replete with so-called “white privilege.” President Obama, for example, attributed high black crime rates to modern-day racism among whites. In October 2015, Obama alleged that “much of our criminal justice system remains unfair. In recent years, more of our eyes have been opened to this truth. We can’t close them anymore.”[1] 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton echoed the claim, stating, “Our criminal justice system is out of balance.” Meanwhile, on the right, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) called for mandatory minimum sentencing to be dumped, and compared the prison system to “segregation.”[2]

Blaming the “system” for disproportionate racial crime is ridiculous.

Crime rates in the black community are significantly higher than in other subsets of American society. As Barry Latzer reports, “From 1976 to 1995, blacks were identified by police as the perpetrators in more than half of homicides. … From 2000 to 2014, African-Americans were murdered eight times as often as whites per capita, nearly always as a result of black-on-black assaults … 57% of blacks in state prison were convicted of violent crimes.”[3]

Unfortunately, that racial disparity in crime has been true for generations. Los Angeles Times reporter Jill Leovy writes, “historians have traced disproportionately high black homicide rates all the way back to the late nineteenth century, and in the early twentieth, ‘nonwhite’ homicide rates exceeded those of whites in all cities that reported federal data”:

  • During the 1920s, the black homicide death rate was seven times higher than that of whites.
  • During the 1940s, that rate was 12 times higher for blacks than whites.
  • In the 1960s and 70s, the black homicide death rate “remained as much as ten times higher than the white rate.”
  • For the last three decades, it has “been five to seven times higher.”[4]

Leovy argues that this homicide rate is largely due to lawlessness in black communities thanks to white communities’ absolute disinterest in black crime, and consequent underprovision of law enforcement.

The notion that blacks and Hispanics are being disproportionately targeted in spite of offense rates is a lie: more blacks and Hispanics are in prison proportionately because more blacks and Hispanics commit serious crimes proportionately. The Justice Department under Bill Clinton found that blacks had a lower chance of prosecution than whites in 75 major American cities as of 1994.[5]

Thomas Sowell attributes the persistent high rate of black crime to a ghetto culture brought about by what he terms “black redneck” culture — lawless habits adopted by Southern blacks from their white Southern brethren. Sowell says that this culture, which began to recede in prominence in the 1940s and 1950s, returned with a vengeance thanks to the political left in the 1960s, leading to skyrocketing crime rates.

“The counterproductive redneck culture that eroded away over the generations, among both whites and blacks, has been rescued after the 1960s by a ‘multicultural’ ideology that has made this residual survival among ghetto blacks a sacrosanct badge of racial identity,” writes Sowell; he adds, ruefully, “The liberal vision of blacks’ fate as being almost wholly in the hands of whites is a debilitating message for those blacks who take it seriously, however convenient it may be for those who are receptive to an alibi.”[6]

Myth 2: To stop crime, we need to stop “mass incarceration.”

Fact: To stop crime, we need to incarcerate criminals.

The Left constantly claims that the crime problem in inner cities is due to the lack of male figures thanks to “mass incarceration.” President Obama particularly promoted the notion that America has engaged in a pattern of “mass incarceration” — some sort of mythical dragnet sweeping up black and brown people into prisons.[7] A February 2016 ACLU poll showed that 81 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans wanted to release criminals from prison.[8]

Here’s the reality: crime rates increase when you let criminals out of prison.

It is that simple.

From 1935 to 1964, the United States enjoyed an unprecedented drop in the crime rate.[9] Then it all collapsed. From 1970 to 1990, Americans were more likely to be victimized in a violent crime than to be injured in a car accident — by a long shot.[10] As of 1990, four in ten Americans said they were afraid to walk alone at night. The crack epidemic had crippled major metropolitan areas around the country.

And then, almost as if a switch had been flipped, crime dropped: from 1990 to 2009, “homicide, robbery, and burglary in the big city [fell] an astounding 80 percent.”[11] From 1993 to 2014, the number of violent crime victimizations dropped precipitously, according to the Justice Department — from 79.8 victimizations per 1,000 people to 20.1 in 2014.[12]

So, what happened?

Major metropolitan areas increased their police forces dramatically. From 1994 to 2000, under the crime policy of President Bill Clinton and mirrored on state and local levels, America added 70,000 police officers. Similarly, across the country, authorities began increasing sentencing, instituting mandatory minimums, and doing away with parole for multiple-time offenders. The crackdown on the crack epidemic meant more arrests. Prison populations soared, but crime declined dramatically.

Contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of the arrest increases had nothing to do with drugs. As Latzer writes, “between 1990 and 1996 … prison commitment ratios rose for violent crime (except rape) and declined for drug offenses by 25 percent.” Mass incarceration, the leftist policy whipping-boy, was responsible for the prevention of tens of thousands of crimes.

In New York City, Mayor Rudy Giuliani took over for failed leftist Mayor David Dinkins and promptly implemented James Q. Wilson’s “broken windows theory” — policing of small crimes in order to demonstrate to criminals that larger crimes will not be tolerated. Policing small crimes also means taking more criminals off the street generally — and those who commit small crimes often end up committing larger ones if left unchecked. Giuliani and his police commissioner, Bill Bratton, implemented data-based policing, designed to deploy resources to the highest-crime areas. New York turned from a hellhole into a safe city once more.[13]

Myth 3: If you let criminals out of prison, they don’t go back to crime.

Fact: A huge majority of criminals go back to crime once released.

So, what happens when you let criminals out of prison? They go back to crime. The Bureau of Justice Statistics followed over 400,000 prisoners in 30 states after they were released from prison in 2005; here’s what they found:

  • within three years, 67.8 percent were arrested again
  • within five years, that number rose to 76.6 percent
  • well over 80 percent of property offenders went back to crime, as did 76.9 percent of drug offenders and 71.3 percent of violent offenders.[14]

Myth 4: A huge number of people in prison are there because of drug possession.

Fact: Only a tiny portion of those in prison are there for drug possession.

Obama complained in July 2015 that the “real reason the prison population is so high” was America locking up “more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before.”

But as crime scholar Heather Mac Donald points out, “Prison remains a lifetime achievement award for persistence in criminal offending.”

It makes no difference that just 16 percent of state prisoners were convicted for drug offenses, and that most of those drug offenses involved distribution (just 3.6 percent of state prisoners are in for simple drug possession, and most of those people pled down their original charges from trafficking).[15]

Myth 5: More police officers endanger young minorities.

Fact: More police officers protect young minorities.

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Mayor De Blasio said, “What parents have done for decades who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have . . . an encounter with a police officer.” He continued, “With [our son Dante], very early on, we said, ‘Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do. Don’t move suddenly. Don’t reach for your cellphone. Because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.” He stated, “It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country.”[16]

Today, the Black Lives Matter movement has been fully integrated into the Democratic Party apparatus. The DNC passed a resolution in August 2015 explicitly supporting BLM, stating, “the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black lives matter’ and the ‘say her name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children.”[17]

But if black lives matter, the best way to save them is to activate more police in high crime areas. Crime rates declined from 1990 to 2010 because more cops practiced more law enforcement in more high-crime areas. In areas that remained high crime, the problem wasn’t too many police officers but too few. Jill Leovy, no conservative, says in her book Ghettoside that a shortage of cops leads to a surplus of death in inner cities: “Where the criminal justice system fails to respond vigorously to violent injury and death, homicide becomes endemic.”[18]

An adequate, active police presence is necessary to prevent the advent of street justice — gangs fighting each other to ensure “justice” for their friends and fellow gang members. Leovy sees it as a stain on America; for politically correct reasons, Americans have failed to examine the actual problems of criminal justice, fearful of talking about the disproportionate murder rate in the black community.

“Explicitly confronting the reality of how murder happens in America,” Leovy explains, “is the first step toward deciding that it is not acceptable, and that for too long black men have lived inadequately protected by the laws of their own country.”[19]

At the height of America’s violent crime wave, there were more than 50 victims of violent crime per 1,000 Americans. To put that in perspective, over the course of two decades, a majority of Americans would have been victimized by a violent crime.[20] By 2014, however, violent victimization had dropped to below 25 victims of violent crime per 1,000 Americans — sliced virtually in half. Property crime, too, declined dramatically, from nearly 350 victims per 1,000 households in 1993 to just over 100.[21]

Thanks to the tender mercies of politicians like De Blasio, police officers have stopped actively policing in many areas of the country. The result has been rising violent crime in America’s most dangerous cities. In 2015, in the wake of De Blasio’s comments, New York officers simply stopped actively policing, knowing that they could not trust the politicians to back their play. The New York Post reported that by the end of the year:

  • NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses had plummeted 94 percent over the previous year
  • Drug arrests dropped 84 percent
  • Overall arrests dropped 66 percent

One source told the newspaper, “This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.” The PBA told its officers not to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary.”[22]

This is one impact of the so-called Ferguson Effect, termed as such by the police chief in St. Louis in November 2014 in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing.

With the police under political attack across the country and the White House celebrating the racist, anti-cop Black Lives Matter movement, crime rates began to climb. As The Washington Post detailed, “The numbers of murders, rapes, assaults and robberies were all up over the first six months of 2015.” A few of the grim statistics:

  • “Between January and June 2015, the number of murders was up 6.2 percent, with the biggest jumps seen in the country’s smallest and largest areas.”
  • “Murders were up 17 percent in areas with fewer than 10,000 residents….”[23]
  • Over the entirety of 2015, the murder rate in America’s largest cities jumped 17 percent.
  • That included a 15.6 percent jump in San Francisco, an 8.5 percent jump in Los Angeles, a 25.2 percent jump in Houston, 5 percent in New York City, 83 percent jump in Nashville, 62 percent in Oklahoma City, and 54 percent in Washington D.C. [24]
  • Murder jumped over 60 percent in 10 disproportionately black cities.[25]
  • Overall, this represented the largest single homicide increase nationally in 25 years.[26]

On October 23, 2015, FBI Director James Comey finally acknowledged the obvious: the Left’s takeover of America’s major cities, combined with the federal crackdown on police forces, had led to a skyrocketing crime rate. The only way to stop suffocation of the community, Comey stated, was through “removing those who were strangling it, so that seeds could be planted to allow good things to grow and fill that space,” Comey said. “And let’s be clear: far more people of color are being killed in America’s cities this year. And it’s not the cops doing the killing.” Comey cited Chicago, Tampa, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Orlando, Cleveland, New York, DC, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Dallas as cities across America experiencing crime spikes.

Comey concluded: “a chill wind [is] blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”[27]

That sentiment wasn’t just promulgated by Comey: it was repeated by mayors across America, 100 of whom met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in October 2015 about rising crime rates — and reportedly broke into applause when someone mentioned that those rates had risen in response to “officers’ sinking morale.” The acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chuck Rosenberg, said the same thing in October.[28] He said Comey was “spot on. … Rightly or wrongly, you become the next viral video. … Now you can do everything right and still end up on the evening news.”[29]

  • From January to April 2016, murders jumped 9 percent in America’s largest 62 cities, and non-fatal shootings jumped 21 percent.
  • Murders in Chicago skyrocketed 95 percent compared with a comparable period in 2014.
  • Not coincidentally, police stops dropped 90 percent over 2015 in Chicago.[30]

As Michael Barone wrote in the Chicago Sun Times, “The most accurate word [for this increase] is unprecedented.’ The only double-digit increases in national murder statistics going back to 1960 are 13 percent (in 1968), 11 percent (in 1966, 1967 and 1971) and 10 percent (in 1979).”[31]

In June 2016, the National Institute of Justice released a report from University of Missouri St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld. “The other explanations [for the increase in crime] have a difficult time … explaining the timing and magnitude of the increase we saw in 2015 and continue to see in some cities in the current year,” Rosenfeld admitted. But he said that the Ferguson Effect wasn’t limited to police getting hands-off — it extended to communities deciding not to trust the police, and becoming “more likely to take matters into their own hands.”[32]

We won’t know the true cost for years to come. That’s because political actors — the same political actors who have crippled our police departments to pander to the media and racial advocacy groups — have pressured their administrations to falsify crime numbers.

In Los Angeles, political forces pressured the LAPD to misclassify over a thousand crime records in 2012-2013, skewing statistics lower. Virtually all the crimes misclassified were violent assaults, including robberies, beatings, and stabbings. According to The Los Angeles Times, the entire violent crime rate across the city would have been higher by a factor of 7 percent; aggravated assaults would have been up 14 percent. Naturally, Chief Charlie Beck, a political pawn of the leftist mayor, said that the classification was merely “complex.”[33]

In Chicago, the story is the same: reclassifications of crimes up to and including murder. Chicago Magazine reported that it found “dozens of other crimes, including serious felonies such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults, that were misclassified, downgraded to wrist-slap offenses, or made to vanish altogether.”[34] In 2015, questions also came up in New York, where former LAPD statistics-falsifying Commissioner Bill Bratton now runs the show.[35]

Myth 6: The cops disproportionately shoot black people because of racism.

Fact: The cops are less likely to shoot black people than white people in the same circumstances.

When the police do come into contact with black people, police are less likely to kill black people than white people in the same circumstances, according to Professor Peter Moskos of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY. Moskos found that “Adjusted for the homicide rate, whites are 1.7 times more likely than blacks to die at the hands of police. Adjusted for the racial disparity at which police are feloniously killed, whites are 1.3 times more likely than blacks to die at the hands of police.”[36]

Moskos isn’t alone. A widely-publicized study in July 2016 from Harvard Professor Roland Fryer surveyed over 1,000 police shootings and found that black suspects are shot less often than white suspects in comparable situations.[37] Fryer, for what it’s worth, is both black and of the political left. A few facts involving race and the use of deadly force:

  • In 2015, the cops shot 987 people; a huge majority were armed or threatening deadly force, and blacks represented 26 percent of those shot.
  • Police officers are 18.5 times more likely to be shot by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by the police.[38]
  • A deadly force lab study from Washington State University found that participants were biased in favor of black suspects in simulated threat scenarios.[39]
  • In 2015, the DOJ analyzed the Philadelphia Police Department and found that white officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects.[40]

Myth 7: “Stop and frisk” is racist.

Fact: “Stop and frisk” statistically undertargets minorities, prevents crime and saves minority lives.

“Stop and frisk” is a policy designed to allow police to stop and frisk pedestrians based on reasonable suspicion that they are involved in a crime. Generally, this means cops determining based on behavior whether someone is carrying a weapon illegally. Communist-sympathizer New York Mayor Bill De Blasio featured his son, who is black, in campaign ads promising to end stop-and-frisk.[41] Upon accession to his office, De Blasio immediately launched a crusade to slander the NYPD. He first settled the city’s lawsuit concerning stop-and-frisk by killing the practice; he then downgraded penalties for marijuana possession.[42]

Using New York Police Department stop-and-frisk data, blacks were 53 percent of those pulled over, despite being 23 percent of the city’s population; whites were 9 percent of those stopped, even though they were 35 percent of the population. Racism, right? Wrong. Blacks were 66 percent of violent crime suspects; blacks and Hispanics are suspects in 98 percent of all shootings in the city. Whites comprised a whopping 5 percent of violent crime suspects. That means that police statistically undertarget minorities.[43]

De Blasio’s decision to kill “stop-and-frisk” had real consequences. The New York Daily News reported that from January to June 2015, as stop-and-frisk stops dropped 42 percent, murder skyrocketed 19.5 percent and shootings increased 9 percent. Head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association Ed Mullins lamented, “What we’re seeing now are the perps carrying their guns because they’re not afraid to carry them. We’ve created an atmosphere where we’ve handcuffed the police. We are sitting back, taking a less proactive approach.” One anonymous cop said, “The guys I talk to all feel the same way: De Blasio doesn’t want stops. The perps know what we’re doing. We’re not stopping as many people as we used to.”[44]

Myth 8: The sentencing for “crack” is higher than powder cocaine because of racism.

Fact: Sentencing disparities on cocaine are a result of rational concerns.

The disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences came about because crack is easier to obtain and distribute, and because black legislators wanted it to rid their areas of drugs on the federal level. The sentences for crystal meth are precisely the same as those for crack. Just 16 percent of state prisoners were convicted for drug offenses, and most of those drug offenses involved distribution (just 3.6 percent of state prisoners are in for simple drug possession, and most of those people pled down their original charges from trafficking).[45]

Myth 9: Police pull over black people for “driving while black.”

Fact: Police pull over people for speeding.

The DOJ and New Jersey attorney general commissioned a study in the 1990s that clocked the speed of all drivers after finding that police pulled over blacks disproportionately. They found that black people sped disproportionately. Blacks were 25 percent of all speeders and 23 percent of drivers stopped for speeding. Naturally, the DOJ tried to kill the study.[46]

Myth 10: Unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by a white cop while holding up his hands and saying, “Don’t shoot.”

Fact: Michael Brown strong-armed robbed a store and attacked a cop, who shot him in self-defense.

On August 9, 2014, a 6’4”, 300-lb. 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. The immediate media narrative: Brown, a “gentle giant,” was shot in cold blood by Wilson. The main witness, Dorian Johnson, said that Brown was walking in the middle of the street with Johnson when Wilson pulled up beside them and told them to “get the f*** on the sidewalk,” then opened his door into Brown and tried to pull him through the window of his car. Brown, said Johnson, attempted to flee, whereupon Wilson shot Brown in the back. Brown, said Johnson, then raised his hands and surrendered — and then Wilson simply executed Brown.

This was the narrative that made national news. Protests immediately broke out. President Obama sent members of his administration to Brown’s funeral and released a statement lamenting Brown’s death: “The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time.”[47] The media began repeating Johnson’s claim that Brown had surrendered; media members held up their hands, stating, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

And then the riots began.

Protests turned violent, with confrontations with police and looting taking the place of peaceful expression. Egging all of this on was the nascent Black Lives Matter movement, which insisted that the vast bulk of black people in jail were victims of white racism, that police departments across the country were rife with bigotry, and that the only solution to all of this was the complete dismantling of the criminal justice system.

President Obama suggested the incident was merely a symptom of a greater cancer: widespread racism in law enforcement. He said, “There is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that is not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.” He concluded, “The African-American community is not just making this up. It’s not just something being politicized. It’s real.”

Except that the incident was made up.

It turned out that Brown wasn’t innocently walking down the street when KKK-lite Officer Wilson confronted him. He’d just strong-arm robbed a convenience store along with Johnson; the video showed the hulking Brown pushing an Asian convenience store owner bodily while sauntering out of the establishment. Wilson pulled over Brown about the time that he heard a description of the suspect over the radio. At that point, both witness and physical evidence showed, Brown punched Wilson in the face, leaned into his car through the driver’s side window, and attempted to grab Wilson’s gun. The gun went off in the car. Brown ran. Wilson stepped out of the car and told Brown to freeze. Brown turned around, then charged Wilson, at which point Wilson shot him to death. Brown was not shot in the back. No credible witness testimony had him surrendering to Wilson. And he never put his hands up to do so.

After Brown’s shooting, according to the St. Louis County Police Investigative Report, a mob of bystanders immediately surrounded Wilson and other police officers, “attempting to encroach on the crime scene itself. … The investigation of the scene was interrupted several times by death threats directed toward police officers and gunshots being fired by an unknown persons [sic] around the crime scene.”

Witnesses refused to talk to officers out of fear of community retaliation; one witness told police, “I have to live here.” Another witness said that he saw the incident and that Wilson was in the right, but said he would not testify for fear of what would happen to him. Witnesses told police that those being shown on television were lying outright. One of the grand jury witnesses testified:

You have to understand the mentality of some of these young guys; they have nothing to do. When they can latch on to something, they embellish it because they want something to do … The majority of them do not work … all they do is sit around and get high all day … Two people — never seen these people before in my life in the whole time I have been out there, and I sit out there a lot — came up threatenin’, “Hey, y’all better not say nothing, ah, you’ll snitching and all.”[48]

Myth 11: Trayvon Martin was shot by a racist white man for the crime of being black.

Truth: Trayvon Martin was shot by a Hispanic man who was acquitted after witness testimony and physical evidence showed he likely shot Martin in self-defense.

Trayvon Martin was a troubled 17-year-old young man with a history of violence. He was only in Sanford, Florida because his high school suspended him for ten days; he went to visit his father. He had been suspended from school in the past after a security guard found a “burglary tool” in his backpack, tweeted sexist things under the handle @NO_LIMIT_NIGGA, and received tweets from his friends about assaulting a bus driver. Martin had reportedly been suspended for a fistfight, and engaged in fighting after school. He also had a habit of engaging in racist commentary, apparently.

Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, had a history with law enforcement as well. He had two prior arrests, including one for assaulting a police officer and another for domestic abuse. But he had no history of racism, and even Barack Obama’s Justice Department could find no evidence of said racism. Zimmerman was not white — he was Hispanic. Reuters explained that Zimmerman was “raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather.”

The site of the incident, The Retreat at Twin Lakes, was victimized by eight burglaries in the year and a half prior to the incident, with many more reported attempts. The suspects had been described, in the main, as young black men. Just days before the shooting, Zimmerman called 911 to report a young black man looking suspiciously into windows. A few days after that, another burglary occurred in the area.

On the night of February 26, 2012, Zimmerman saw Martin walking around the neighborhood and called 911. He said, “Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh, it’s Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

Martin’s autopsy showed that he was in fact on drugs.

Martin told the dispatcher, “He’s here now, just staring … looking at all the houses. … Now he’s just staring at me. … Yeah, now he’s coming towards me. … Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is. … See if you can get an officer over here. … These assholes, they always get away.”

Zimmerman was clearly talking about the fact that he had called 911 before and the police had not responded in time.

Zimmerman then told the dispatcher that Martin was running away, and that he was following. The dispatcher said, “Okay, we don’t need you to do that.” Zimmerman said he lost track of Martin, and then for a few minutes stayed on the phone; finally, he said he’d meet the cops when they arrived. After he hung up, the incident began.

According to the prosecution, Zimmerman provoked Martin into a fight, and then shot him. According to the defense, Martin surprised Zimmerman, asked him why he was following him, and then punched him. Witnesses then said that Martin ended up on top of Zimmerman and was pounding his head into the pavement when Zimmerman pulled out his gun and shot him. Martin’s body was not damaged except for the gunshot wound, but Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes, and lacerations on his head. Zimmerman was acquitted by an all-female jury.

The Justice Department found no evidence of a race-based killing.



[1] “Obama: ‘Much of Our Criminal Justice System Remains Unfair,’” CNSNews.com, October 18, 2015 <http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/obama-much-our-criminal-justice-system-remains-unfair>

[2] Jonathan Easley, “GOP contenders embrace criminal justice reform,” TheHill.com, July 15, 2015 <http://thehill.com/campaign-issues/248069-gop-contenders-embrace-criminal-justice-reform>

[3] Barry Latzer, “The Myth of Mass Incarceration,” The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2016 <http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-mass-incarceration-1456184736>

[4] Jill Leovy, Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (Random House: United States, 2015), 10.

[5] Heather Mac Donald, “The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism,” City-Journal.org, October 22, 2015 <http://www.city-journal.org/html/myth-criminal-justice-racism-10231.html>

[6] Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks And White Liberals (Encounter Books: United States, 2005), 61, 63.

[7] “Remarks by the President on Criminal Justice Reform,” WhiteHouse.gov, November 2, 2015 <https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/02/remarks-president-criminal-justice-reform>

[8] James Arkin, “Criminal Justice Reform: There’s Bipartisan Hope,” RealClearPolitics.com, May 6, 2016. <http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/05/06/criminal_justice_reform_theres_bipartisan_hope__130482.html>

[9] Barry Latzer, The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America (Encounter Books: New York, 2016), 70.

[10] Ibid, 119.

[11] Ibid, 220.

[12] Mark Berman, “FBI: Murders and other violent crimes increased last year,” The Washington Post, January 19, 2016 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/01/19/fbi-murders-and-other-violent-crimes-increased-last-year/>

[13] Barry Latzer, The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America (Encounter Books: New York, 2016), 221-263.

[14] “Office of Justice Programs: Recidivism,” NIJ.gov <http://www.nij.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism/pages/welcome.aspx>

[15] Heather Mac Donald, “The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism,” City-Journal.org, October 22, 2015 <http://www.city-journal.org/html/myth-criminal-justice-racism-10231.html>

[16] Erin Durkin, “Bill de Blasio details talk with biracial son about interacting with police: You ‘train them to be very careful when they have . . . an encounter with a police officer,” NYDailyNews.com, December 8, 2014 <http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-details-talk-son-dealing-cops-article-1.2036870>

[17] Alex Seitz-Wald, “DNC passes resolution supporting Black Lives Matter,” MSNBC.com, August 28, 2015 <http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/dnc-passes-resolution-supporting-black-lives-matter>

[18] Jill Leovy, Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America (Random House: United States, 2015), 8.

[19] Ibid, 12.

[20] Michael R. Rand, James P. Lynch, David Cantor, “Criminal Victimization, 1973-95,” Bureau of Justice Statistics <http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/Cv73_95.pdf

[21] Jennifer L. Truman and Lynn Langton, “Criminal Victimization, 2014,” Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2015 <http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf>

[22] Larry Celona, Shawn Cohen, and Bruce Golding, “Arrests plummet 66% with NPYD in virtual work stoppage,” NYPost.com, December 29, 2014 <http://nypost.com/2014/12/29/arrests-plummet-following-execution-of-two-cops/>

[23] Mark Berman, “FBI: Murders and other violent crimes increased last year,” The Washington Post, January 19, 2016 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/01/19/fbi-murders-and-other-violent-crimes-increased-last-year/>

[24] Max Ehrenfruend and Denise Lu, “More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why,” WashingtonPost.com, January 27, 2016 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/2015-homicides/>

[25] Heather Mac Donald, “The ‘Ferguson effect’ is fueling a growing crime wave,” NYPost.com, May 24, 2016 <http://nypost.com/2016/05/24/the-ferguson-effect-is-fueling-a-growing-crime-wave/>

[26] Max Ehrenfruend and Denise Lu, “More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why,” WashingtonPost.com, January 27, 2016 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/2015-homicides/>

[27] James B. Comey, Speech at University of Chicago Law School, FBI.gov, October 23, 2015 <https://www.fbi.gov/news/speeches/law-enforcement-and-the-communities-we-serve-bending-the-lines-toward-safety-and-justice>

[28] Heather Mac Donald, “In Denial About Crime,” City-Journal.org, Winter 2016 <http://www.city-journal.org/html/denial-about-crime-14118.html>

[29] David A. Graham, “The White House Smacks Down Its DEA Chief on the ‘Ferguson Effect,’” TheAtlantic.com, November 9, 2015 <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/white-house-dea-chuck-rosenberg-ferguson-effect/414993/>

[30] Heather Mac Donald, “The ‘Ferguson effect’ is fueling a growing crime wave,” NYPost.com, May 24, 2016 <http://nypost.com/2016/05/24/the-ferguson-effect-is-fueling-a-growing-crime-wave/>

[31] Michael Barone, “‘Ferguson Effect’ real – and dangerous to African Americans,” Chicago Sun-Times, May 24, 2016 <http://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/ferguson-effect-real-and-dangerous-to-african-americans/>

[32] “‘Ferguson Effect’ is a plausible reason for spike in violent US crime, study says,” TheGuardian.com, June 15, 2016 <https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/15/ferguson-effect-homicide-rates-us-crime-study>

[33] “LAPD MISCLASSIFIED 1000+ CRIME STATISTICS IN 2012-2013: LA TIMES REPORT,” ABC7.com, August 12, 2014 <http://abc7.com/news/lapd-misclassified-1000+-crime-statistics-times-report/254810/>

[34] David Bernstein and Noah Isackson, “The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates,” Chicagomag.com, April 7, 2014 <http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/May-2014/Chicago-crime-rates/>

[35] “Critics Wonder Whether NYPD Might Be Cooking Books To Lower Crime Statistics,” NewYork.CBSLocal.com, October 16, 2015 <http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/10/16/nypd-crime-stats-lower/>

[36] Valerie Richardson, “Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage,” WashingtonTimes.com, April 21, 2015 <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/21/police-kill-more-whites-than-blacks-but-minority-d/>

[37] Fryer, Roland G. “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2016 <http://www.nber.org/papers/w22399>

[38] Quactrung Bui and Amanda Cox, “Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings,” The New York Times, July 11, 2016 <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html>

[39] Eric Sorensen, “‘Deadly force’ lab finds racial disparities in shootings,” WSU.edu, September 2, 2014 <https://news.wsu.edu/2014/09/02/deadly-force-lab-finds-racial-disparities-in-shootings/>

[40] Heather Mac Donald, “The academic research on police shootings and race,” WashingtonPost.com, July 19, 2016 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/19/academic-research-on-police-shootings-and-race/?utm_term=.ed541268ff03>

[41] Vanessa Williams, “NY Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke bluntly on race, policing in ways harder for Obama,” WashingtonPost.com, December 5, 2014 <https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ny-mayor-bill-de-blasio-spoke-bluntly-on-race-policing-in-ways-harder-for-obama/2014/12/05/58900a32-7bf6-11e4-b821-503cc7efed9e_story.html>

[42] Matt Flegenheimer, “New Message on Frisking From de Blasio’s City Hall Amid Criticism,” New York Times, June 12, 2015 <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/13/nyregion/de-blasio-city-hall-now-emphasizes-stop-and-frisk-drop-started-under-bloomberg.html?_r=0>

[43] Heather Mac Donald, “Stop & frisk facts,” NYPost.com, May 22, 2012 <http://nypost.com/2012/05/22/stop-frisk-facts/>

[44] Rocco Parascandola, Kerry Burke, Larry McShane, “EXCLUSIVE: Huge drop in stop-and-frisk as NYC crime increases raises fear that cops are reluctant to confront criminals,” NYDailyNews.com, June 5, 2015 <http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-big-fall-stop-and-frisk-criminals-bolder-article-1.2247406>

[45] Heather Mac Donald, “The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism,” City-Journal.org, October 22, 2015 <http://www.city-journal.org/html/myth-criminal-justice-racism-10231.html>

[46] David Kocieniewski, “Study Suggests Racial Gap In Speeding In New Jersey,” The New York Times, March 21, 2002 <http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/21/nyregion/study-suggests-racial-gap-in-speeding-in-new-jersey.html>

[47] Adam McDonald, “President Obama releases statement on death of Michael Brown, Jr.,” KMOV.com, August 12, 2014 <https://web.archive.org/web/20140813023659/http://www.kmov.com/special-coverage-001/President-Obama-releases-statement-on-death-of-Michael-Brown-270966801.html>

[48] Ben Shapiro, “In Ferguson, Witness Intimidation, Lying By ‘Community Of Color,’” Breitbart.com, November 28, 2014 <http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/11/28/in-ferguson-witness-intimidation-lying-by-community-of-color/>

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