A Breakdown of the 71 People Killed by Police in Florida in 2015

A Breakdown of the 71 People Killed by Police in Florida in 2015
Photo by Zorin Denu's Flickr, CC3.0

In hindsight, 2015 was the year America began a long, hard discussion about police-involved deaths. Already a tough and heated conversation, the talk was made all the more difficult by the realization that no one — not the federal government, not an NGO, not a single journalistic institution — had ever kept a reliable database of police-involved shootings. That made it impossible to compare the events of this year against historical trends. 

However, the Washington Post and the Guardian undertook the duty of collecting data on deaths during encounters with law enforcement officers. The main difference is that the Post collected data only on shootings, while the Guardian included all deaths, including those caused by Tasers. 

Using the information from the Guardian database, here's a breakdown of all the people killed by police in Florida in 2015.

There are some notable findings for Miami-Dade: The county had by far the most police-involved deaths, with 15 last year. The county with the next highest number was Jacksonville, with just six. The Miami-Dade Police Department led the state in deaths, with seven tied to department officers, while the City of Miami was third, with three.

Statewide, black suspects were killed more often than anyone else, making up 45 percent of all police-involved deaths. African-Americans make up just 17 percent of Florida's population. (Whites, meanwhile, compose 60 percent of the population but just 44 percent of deaths.)

Here's a more detailed breakdown via the database: 

Total number of people killed by police in Florida: 71

Rank by Total Number of Deaths: 3rd
Rank by Deaths per Capita: 24th

Weapons

Total number unarmed: 14 (24%)
Total number armed with a firearm: 39 (51%)
Total number armed with a knife: 6 (8%)
Total number armed with another weapon: 12 (17%)

Weapons cited as "other": A razor blade, a "stick or crowbar," a machete, cars, a pipe, a "sharp object," a samurai sword, and a broomstick. 

Race and Ethnicity

Black: 32 (45%)
Non-Hispanic White: 31 (44%)
Hispanic/Latino: 7 (10%)
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1  (1%)

Deaths per Million People by Race and Ethnicity: 

Black: 10.4
White: 2.7
Hispanic/Latino: 1.5

Notably, deaths of blacks after police encounters is higher than the national rate of 7.1 per million. Deaths of Hispanics/Latinos is noticeably lower than the national average of 3.5 per million. The rate for whites is similar to the national average of 2.9 per million. 

By Gender

Male: 70
Female: 1 

Only 53 women were killed by police across America in 2015.

Number of Those Killed Under Age 18: 3

Means of Death

Gunshot: 64
Taser: 4 
Died in Police Custody: 2
Struck by Police Vehicle: 1 

Details of Those Unarmed Who Were Killed by Police: 

Total: 14

Black: 6 
White: 6
Hispanic: 1 
Asian: 1 

Killed by Gunshot: 9
Tasered: 3
Other: 2

Details of Those Killed Who Were Armed With "Other" Weapons: 

Total: 12

Black: 7
White: 3
Hispanic: 1 

Killed by Gunshot: All 12 

(This includes at least two notable Miami cases: a June shooting in Overtown when police killed a homeless man holding a metal pipe in front of terrified kids at a camp, and the February shooting in Miami Gardens of a mentally ill man "armed" with a broom.)

Police Departments With the Most Deaths: 

Miami-Dade Police Department: 7
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office: 6
Miami Police Department: 3 
Orlando Police Department: 3
Tallahassee Police Department: 3
Volusia County Sheriff's Office: 3 
Broward County Sheriff's Office: 2 
Brevard County Sheriff's Office: 2 
Lake County Sheriff's Office: 2 
Miami Beach Police Department: 2 
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office: 2 
Tampa Police Department: 2

Counties With the Most Deaths: 

Miami-Dade: 15
Duval (Jacksonville): 6
Broward: 6
Hillsborough: 4
Brevard: 4
Orange: 4
Volusia: 4
Palm Beach: 2
Polk: 2 
Sarasota: 2 
St. Johns: 2 


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >