In 2014, the Tampa Bay Times set out to count every officer-involved shooting in Florida during a six-year period. We learned that at least 827 people were shot by police — one every 2½ days. We learned that blacks are shot at a higher rate than whites. We learned that on-duty police are almost never charged with crimes for firing, even though agencies pay millions to settle civil lawsuits.
Each year had about the same number of shootings, an average of 138.
The youngest person shot was a 2-year-old Jacksonville boy in his mother’s car at a Wendy’s. He survived. The oldest was a deranged 80-year-old man who shot at an officer before the officer fired back. He, too, lived.
Nearly a fifth of the people shot — 156 — were unarmed; no gun, no knife, no vehicle. And half of those were black, in a state where blacks make up just 15 percent of the population. That means unarmed black people were nearly eight times as likely to be shot by police than whites. One hundred twelve people shot were believed to have driven toward police officers or otherwise used a vehicle as a weapon.
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