African-Americans are far more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes such as murder, sexual assault and illegal drug activity than whites due to factors including racial bias and official misconduct, a study released on Tuesday said.
Of the 1,900 defendants convicted of crimes and later exonerated, 47 percent were African-Americans - three times their representation in the population - according to the study from the National Registry of Exonerations, which examined cases from 1989 to October 2016.
The study also said black Americans were about seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than white Americans.
"In the murder cases we examined, the rate of official misconduct is considerably higher in cases where the defendant is African-American compared to cases where the defendant is white," said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan Law School professor who is senior editor of the group that tracks U.S. exonerations.
He said unconscious bias, institutional discrimination and explicit racism, were factors in some of the wrongful convictions.
When it comes to drug crimes, black Americans are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than innocent white people, the study said.