Right now, the entire country is engaging in a passionate debate about race and the criminal justice system in America, a topic that continues to dominate headlines. A new book written by criminology scholars, “Deadly Injustice,” uses statistics and real-life court cases to show exactly what Americans’ views on race are, and how it influences the decisions made within our legal system. We talk to one of the authors, George Mason University Criminology, Law and Society professor Devon Johnson to dig a little deeper.
The bulk of the book focuses on Trayvon Martin. What was it about that case in particular that embodied everything you wanted to talk about?
We started developing ideas for the book right after the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The case brought a lot of issues together such as the public perception of who is suspicious and who is a criminal, police profiling and the court system.
How did social media play a role?
It had a very significant impact on what happened with the case. We know these types of situations have happened many times in the past, but they hadn’t garnered this level of national attention. Trayvon’s parents filed an online petition to bring attention to the case and put pressure on the prosecutor’s office. It was a turning point in that way.