Killings by Florida Police on the Rise, but Not as Fast as in Other States

Florida ranks third in the nation when it comes to the number of people killed by police, which sounds accurate since this is the third most populous state in the country. But when looked at per capita, Florida is actually a little better – this year, at least — according to numbers compiled by the Guardian.

As of today, Florida police have killed 35 people. That's enough for the third highest number in the country, behind only California (82 people killed by police) and Texas (55). Those states also have the two highest populations, respectively.

Per capita, however, Florida's rank goes all the way down to 20th. The three states with the highest per-capita police killings, which includes death by guns, tasers, and other means, are Oklahoma, Arizona, and Nebraska.

Oklahoma has had 24 killings by police this year with a population of about 3.8 million. Arizona has 26 with a population of 6.6 million. And Nebraska has had six fatal encounters with police out of a population of 1.8 million.

Other states with a higher per-capita rate of police killings include new Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Colorado, Louisiana, Delaware, West Virginia, California, South Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, and Mississippi.

Despite Florida's per-capita number, the number of killings by police has steadily risen over the past 15 years. In 1999 – a year when crime in Florida was high and of great political debate — there were only 14 police shootings. In 2013, with crime rates far lower than in 1999, the number was 58. And in 2012, the number was even higher, with 67. All of these shootings were ruled to be justified.

And in Broward County, every case of a police shooting since 1980 has been ruled justified by State Attorney Michael Satz. Since Satz became state attorney of Broward County in 1979, his office has reviewed 168 police shootings and hasn't filed charges against a single officer.   
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Ray Downs
Contact: Ray Downs