How Race Slowed The Investigation of a Double Homicide

I love crime shows, especially crime docs like Forensic Files and Cold Case Files. Lately I’ve been watching a show on Netflix called Crime 360. In this reality show, cameras follow the investigation of homicides that are solved in part by using technology that allows crime techs to “freeze” a crime scene just as it is at the time of discovery for use later if detectives need to see the scene for some purpose after clean-up at the actual site has occurred.

Over the course of 2 seasons, the show was filmed in Richmond, VA; Indianapolis, IN; Rochester, NY and Cleveland, OH. I’ve been watching for several days now, about an episode a day, and I quickly realized that approximately 90-95% of the victims were of color (mostly black) and with the exception of one of the episode I’m about to discuss, 100% of the perps were of color (mostly black). All of the victims have been male and young and “in that life” as well as the perps. To a certain degree I believe I’ve continued to watch this show just to see how many black men are killing other black men and how much of that a television show would air.

You have to wonder how many homicide investigations they filmed and how they chose to air the ones they chose to air. Two episodes I watched back-to-back were almost completely opposite in every way, except for the city they were filmed in; both were in Indianapolis.

In the first episode we come up on a homicide of a young black male. It appears that a shootout between two groups of people occurred and the victim was shot during that time. He managed to run to a back alley where he collapsed and died. The investigation went just as several others had gone: the lead investigator rounded up any possible witnesses and questioned them, came up with a list of suspects, and continued to use physical and forensic evidence to help him guide where he looked for more information until finally he was able to determine who shot the victim.

In the second episode, we come upon a double homicide of 2 older white males. Both are retired professionals and we learn (needlessly, I think) that they are gay (homophobia actually runs a bit rampant in this show, but that’s a topic for another post). Just like the prior episode and most of the others, the lead detective gathers witnesses and uses evidence to figure out where to go next in his search.

Both episodes end with the arrests of the suspect(s) but one takes a bit longer than the other to solve and I believe it has to do with race.

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