The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, has highlighted the tension that can build when a town with a majority black population is patrolled by a police force that is largely white.
The situation in Miami is slightly more complicated. Several police forces here have higher percentages of black officers than their cities' general population. The City of Miami has a population that's roughly 16 percent black, but its police force is about 30 percent black.
However, in many of Miami's blackest cities the police force is overwhelmingly white.
Here, from an interactive New York Times map, are cities where the racial makeup of police force actually mirrors the population. Note however that the police demographics come from a survey that was conducted way back in 2007.
More recent demographics for the Miami-Dade Police Department weren't available, but the makeup of the force then was 42 percent white, 41 percent black, and 17 percent Hispanic back in 2000. According to Census date from the same year, the racial makeup of the county was roughly 21 percent white, 20 percent black and 57 percent Hispanic. The demographics of the force quite possibly may have changed since, but the racial disparity here was skewed against Hispanics.
Though, the police forces of Miami-Dade cities with large African-American populations tell a different story.
In North Miami and North Miami Beach, the forces where significantly whiter than their populations.
Demographics for the police forces of Opa-locka and Miami Gardens (which was only formed in 2007) were not available.
We should also note that despite its relatively demographically balanced force, it was the City of Miami PD that was recently under investigation by the Department of Justice for fatally shooting seven black men in an eight-month span.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.