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Update (June 8, 2020): This viral image started recirculating on social media after the death of George Floyd. It remains Pants on Fire false.
The image shows a 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
Trump Number: 2%
FBI Number: 8%
Error factor: 4 times
Blacks killed by blacks
Trump Number: 97%
FBI Number: 90%
Error factor: Just a little off
Whites killed by whites
Trump Number: 16%
FBI Number: 82%
Error factor: 5.4 times
Whites killed by blacks
Trump Number: 81%
FBI Number: 15%
Effor factor: 5.4 times
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 shootings for 2015. The most recent figures from the Post show 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.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.
Donald Trump, tweet, Nov. 22, 2015
Bureau of Justice Statistics, Arrest-Related Deaths Program: Data Quality Profile, March 2015
Washington Post, Investigation: Police shootings, Nov. 23, 2015
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Violent Death Reporting System
New York Daily News, Fact-checking Donald Trump's questionable 'USA Crime Statistics' tweet broken down by race, Nov. 22, 2015
CNN, Trump retweets fake, racially charged crime data from non-existent group, Nov. 22, 2015
Daily Beast, Donald Trump Is Using False Statistics to Make a Racist Point, Nov. 22, 2015
Little Green Footballs, We Found Where Donald Trump’s "Black Crimes" Graphic Came From, Nov. 22, 2015
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