Trump's Pants on Fire tweet that blacks killed 81% of white homicide
A day after a black activist was kicked and punched by voters at a Donald Trump rally in Alabama, Trump tweeted an image packed with racially loaded and incorrect murder statistics.
The image showsa masked, dark-skinned man with a handgun and a set of points, ostensibly about deaths in 2015:
"Blacks killed by whites -- 2%"
"Blacks killed by police -- 1%"
"Whites killed by police -- 3%"
"Whites killed by whites -- 16%"
"Whites killed by blacks -- 81%"
"Blacks killed by blacks -- 97%’
The image cites the "Crime Statistics Bureau - San Francisco"
Here is the image:
None of the numbers are supported by official sources. The figures on black-on-white homicides and white-on-white homicides are wildly inaccurate. And, as several news organizations quickly noted, the "Crime Statistics Bureau" doesn’t exist. We looked for that agency as well and the closest we found in San Francisco were a number of crime scene clean-up services.
While the image references 2015, the year is not over, and no official numbers have been released. The latest data comes from the FBI for 2014. This table contrasts Trump’s figures with the official ones.
Blacks killed by whites
Blacks killed by blacks
Just a little off
Whites killed by whites
Whites killed by blacks
The most glaring inaccuracies have to do with white homicide victims. Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true. By overwhelming percentages, whites tend to kill other whites. Similarly, blacks tend to kill other blacks. These trends have been observed for decades.
Killings by police
We also looked at what percentage of each race the police have killed.The official tally of deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers is well known to be incomplete. A study this year by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that official counts miss between 30 to 40 percent of all police-related deaths.
The Washington Post has worked to fill the gap by compiling a database of police shootingsfor 2015. The most recent figures from the Postshow 414 whites killed, compared to 223 blacks, as of Nov. 23, 2015.
Trump’s tweet said police were responsible for 3 percent of all white homicides and 1 percent of all black homicides. If that were true, then applying those percentages to the FBI report of all homicides in 2014, 91 whites would have died at the hands of police and 25 blacks. That’s a ratio of nearly 4-to-1.
In contrast, the Washington Post data show slightly less than two white deaths for each black death.
One of the official, and incomplete, sources for people killed at the hands of police is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention violent death database. It shows a ratio of about 1.5 white deaths for each black death, in the period 2009 to 2013.
Trump’s number is about double the most accurate figures we could find. That makes him about 100 percent off.
Parenthetically, the website Little Green Footballs traced the original image back to a Twitter stream that appears to originate in the United Kingdom and features a modified swatiska with the line "Should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache."
Trump tweeted an image that made various statistical claims, including that blacks kill 81 percent of white homicide victims. Almost every number in the image is wrong. The statistics on white victims are exaggerated five-fold. The police-related deaths are off as well.