Furor erupts over Rudy Giuliani's mention of black-on-black crime with regard to Ferguson

This past week-end on Meet the Press, two members of the panel – former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani and MSNBC host Eric Michael Dyson – got into an argument discussing Ferguson, the police, and violence in the black community.  Giuliani made the point that 93% of blacks who are murdered are killed by other blacks, stating that scenarios that involve police officers shooting black people are the exception.  (And this doesn’t even take into account whether police response was self-defense and therefore warranted, which was not addressed in this short clip.)

Dyson claimed that police need to be held to a different standard, since they are agents of the state sworn to uphold the law.  He also said that “[m]ost black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail.”

As to the first point, while it’s true that the police take an oath as part of their professional duty, it’s absurd to claim that regular citizens are somehow less obligated to obey the law.

As to Dyson’s second claim, I will focus on murder, since that is the issue at hand in Ferguson.

Not only are most murders in the black community being committed by other black people, but a vast number of murderers do not go to jail.  That’s because the murderer is never caught.  Or if law enforcement has a high suspicion of who the murderer is, the prosecution cannot bring the case to trial because no witnesses will come forward to testify.

And why is that?

There are multiple factors that impact how successful law enforcement is in identifying murderers, arresting them, and getting convictions.  One factor is that murders often occur in communities where gangs are prevalent.  Witnesses are often afraid to speak up and unwilling to cooperate with the police.  As a result, killers roam free.

Poynter reports:

The Scripps Howard News Service spent a year plowing through FBI statistics and learned that in many of America’s cities, fewer than half of all murder cases are solved. At least 6,000 a year go unsolved…. (snip)

Killings involving drugs, gangs or stranger-on-stranger robberies are much more likely to go unsolved than almost any other homicide. Racial minorities, men and teenagers or young adults are more likely than other groups to be the victims of unsolved homicide.

EScrippsNews reports:

… the percentages of solved cases, for murder and manslaughter have declined from about 90 percent in the 1960s to below 65 percent in recent years, despite advances in DNA analysis. Police fail to make an arrest in more than one-third of all homicides, totaling to at least 185,000 unsolved homicides between 1980 and 2008.

The percentage of unsolved murder cases varies from city to city, with some having success rates as low as 21 percent.  Deseret News reports:

Experts say that murders have become tougher to solve because there are fewer crimes of passion, where the assailant is easier to identify, and more drug- and gang-related killings. Many police chiefs – especially in areas with skyrocketing numbers of unsolved crimes – blame a lack of cooperation by witnesses and even surviving victims of violent crime. (snip)

Police solved only 35 percent of the murders in Chicago in 2008, 22 percent in New Orleans and just 21 percent in Detroit….

So, Professor Dyson.  Extrapolating from this data, it’s safe to assume that not only are 93% of black murders committed by blacks, but thousands upon thousands – not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands – of murderers don’t go to jail.  And in many cases, a central reason for this horrid reality is that the community will not help identify and/or convict the killer(s).

Not only do black people kill other black people all the time, but they get away with it because oftentimes other black people will not come forward to make sure killers are put behind bars.

I thought that ought to be clarified.