Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Gates incident spurs discussion on race, crime

Undercover police search a man on suspicion of drugs.
Undercover police search a man on suspicion of drugs.

Since the arrest of black Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., and the comments about the controversy by President Barack Obama, pundits have analyzed and reanalyzed what the incident says about crime and race in America.

We welcome two new pundits to the Truth-O-Meter — liberal Arianna Huffington and conservative Bill Bennett — and check the facts from their comments on the Sunday news shows about the issue.

Bennett said that 4 percent of American citizens are black males, but they are 35 percent of murder victims. We found he's not exactly correct but he's not far off. We rated his statement Mostly True .

Huffington said said that only 15 percent of drug users are African-American, yet 74 percent of all drug offenders sentenced to prison are black. One of those numbers was off by quite a bit. Still, she makes a valid point that black Americans are imprisoned for drug offenses at wildly disproportionate rates. So we rated her statement Half True .