CLAIM: An Oscar winner on Sunday used his acceptance speech to criticize law enforcement, claiming that fatal police shootings happen “disproportionately” to black people.
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE. Police shot and killed 1,021 people in 2020 with white people accounting for 44 percent of those deaths, more than any other racial group. Blacks accounted for 23 percent of those deaths. That percentage has held steady since at least 2017.
Filmmaker Travon Free, who shared the Academy Award for the live-action short film Two Distant Strangers, made the claim during Sunday’s live Oscars broadcast from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.
“On average, the police in America every day kill three people, which amounts to about a thousand people a year. And those people happen to be disproportionately black people,” he said. “So I just ask that you please not be indifferent. Please don’t be indifferent to our pain.”
‘Two Distant Strangers’ wins for ‘Short Film Live Action. Accepting the win Travon Free cites James Baldwin, “don’t be indifferent to our pain,” re: police disproportionately shooting Black people #Oscars @travon pic.twitter.com/nqnjhVbeA3
— Reel Connections (@ReelConnects) April 26, 2021
The filmmaker may have been referring to the fact that black people account for 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, while fatal police shooting victims are 23 percent black.
But it is also true blacks tend to commit crimes at disproportionately high levels, accounting for approximately 60 percent of robberies and 53 percent of homicides in 2018.