The executive order follows another this week calling for a policy review of how the death penalty is applied in the judicial system.
The president acted after hearing of a recent killing in which the victim was left groaning in pain for several minutes after the murderer’s actions failed to have the intended effect immediately. Obama said the botched murders in particular raise “difficult and profound questions about who we are as a society.”
The White House said the president is particularly concerned about the unfairness and possible bigotry of the nation’s killers, who have a statistically significant bias toward killing young, black men — far out of proportion to their numbers in the population.
“We’re also hearing far too many stories of the wrong person being murdered in a drive-by shooting,” Obama said. “Too often these murder victims are oppressed minorities, many of them guilty of little more than being SWB: Slain While Black. Frankly, we need to be a better country than this.”