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Are African-Americans overrepresented on Florida's death row?

AyalaAP

@amysherman1

The decision by Orlando-area prosecutor Aramis D. Ayala to no longer seek the death penalty in murder cases has injected a racial discussion about death row into the Florida legislative session.

Ayala, a Democrat elected as state attorney in 2016, announced her decision while handling the case of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer. Scott removed Ayala from the Loyd case as well as 21 additional first-degree murder cases and reassigned them to Brad King, a Republican state attorney.

Sen. Randolph Bracy, an Orange County Democrat and chairman of the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee, defended Ayala’s right to make that call and criticized Gov. Rick Scott’s reaction in an op-ed in the New York Times.

"As a black man, I see the death penalty as a powerful symbol of injustice in which race often determines who lives and who dies, especially in Florida," Bracy wrote. "The state has the second-largest number of death row inmates in the country, after California, and African-Americans are grossly overrepresented on Florida’s death row."

Related: Did the U.S. Supreme Court ban all state laws that make executions mandatory for murderers?

We decided to look at the statistics and see if they back up Bracy’s statement. Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

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