Duane Buck, Death Row, and the ‘Dangerousness’ of Black People

Duane Buck Texas Execution
Texas argued that the fact that Mr. Buck is Black increases the possibility of him being violent in the future

AFRICANGLOBE – In 1997, Duane Buck was convicted of shooting and killing two people, including his former girlfriend, in Houston, Texas. A jury sentenced him to death.

Among the factors that influenced their decision: testimony from a psychologist who said that black people like Buck are more violent and dangerous than other people.

Below is a short clip from a new film, “A Broken Promise in Texas,” that explores Buck’s case. Although the Texas attorney general admitted more than a decade ago that the use of race-based testimony in Buck’s case was “inappropriate,” he still has not received a new sentencing hearing.

campaign led by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund is currently underway to try to win Buck a new hearing. For now, he remains on death row. This is the pertinent exchange between the prosecutor in Buck’s case and the psychologist who’d been called to testify:

“You have determined that the sex factor, that a male is more violent than a female because that’s just the way it is, and that the race factor, black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons,” the prosecutor asked Dr. Quijano. “Is that correct?”

“Yes,” he replied.

The film is well worth watching.
[ The campaign on Duane Buck’s behalf is here.]


By: Hamilton Nolan


A Broken Promise in Texas: Race, the Death Penalty and the Duane Buck Case