Saturday, January 13, 2018

AR: Justified Homicides Not Counted in Little Rock

Those who want a disarmed population make much of the few hundred homicides officially designated as such by the FBI. In the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), about 300 homicides are reported as justified by private (non-police) actors in the United States each year. There has been considerable research to show the FBI number only catches about 20% of actual justified homicides.

A report out of Little Rock Arkansas illustrates part of the problem. The Little Rock Police Department has not been reporting justifiable homicides separately. They have simply included them with murders and non-negligent homicides.  They recently made the decision to report them separately.  From
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police in Little Rock have redefined what types of killings are included in the city’s homicide total in a move that will lower the annual tally that’s recorded.

Lt. Michael Ford tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that justifiable homicides will no longer be included in the broader tally.
The police told the Democrat-Gazette the reason to change the reporting was to follow the FBI UCR reporting guidelines.  The Little Rock Police will now report some justified homicides that were not reported separately before. They will still be missing quite a few justified homicides.

If more than one person is involved in a felony, and someone is killed during because of the felonious actions, an accomplice can be charged with the killing. It is known in the law as the felony murder rule.

If an accomplice is charged with murder under the felony murder rule, the homicide is counted as a murder, even if the person who killed the criminal committing the felony was justified in doing so.  The Little Rock Police give us an example. From
One example is the death of 20-year-old Mashon Jackson, who was killed by a single bullet in a shootout on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on Jan. 8.

Investigators couldn't determine who specifically fired the shot that killed Jackson. The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office cleared the men who were involved on the opposite side of the shootout.

The two men police say were riding with Jackson that night -- Jerico Mosley and Tre'sean Freeman -- were each charged with one count of manslaughter in connection to Jackson's death and four counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, online court records show. 

Jackson's death will be included within the city's homicide count because both Freeman and Mosley were criminally charged, Moore said.
This happens across the country. It is one reason the FBI UCR count catches such a small percentage of justifiable homicides in the United States.

The Little Rock Police said they will be reporting the number of justifiable homicides that the prosecutor decides not to prosecute. The justified homicides where the prosecutor decides to prosecute, but loses the case, or later, the appeal, will remain unreported or reported as criminal homicides.

When people tell you there are only a couple of hundred justified homicides in the United States in a year, you can tell them there are likely five times as many as are reported in the Uniform Crime Reports.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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