Amid anger, pleas for calm
Poll: Support for racial injustice protests falls
NEW YORK — As the decision in Kentucky to bring charges against only one of three police officers involved in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor sparks renewed protests nationwide, a new survey finds support has fallen for demonstrations against systemic racism.
The poll from The Associated PRESS-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 44% of Americans disapprove of protests in response to police violence against Black Americans, while 39% approve. In June, 54% approved. The new survey was conducted Sept. 11-14, before Wednesday’s announcement that a lone Louisville police officer would be charged in the Taylor case, but not for her actual death.
Overnight, demonstrators in cities from New York to Las Vegas marched through streets and chanted Taylor’s name.
The poll finds the percentage of Americans who believe police violence unequally targets Black Americans and that greater consequences for police brutality are necessary have also fallen from June, when an AP-NORC survey found sweeping changes in how Americans view these issues.
The June survey followed the late May killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, which renewed focus on Taylor’s earlier death, in March.
The new poll finds the recent shift in opinion is pronounced among white Americans and Republicans, whose views on police violence and racial inequity in policing look closer to the way they did in 2015 after the high-profile police killings of several Black men. Just 35% of white Americans approve of the protests now, while 50% disapprove. In June, 53% approved while 34% disapproved.
Among Latinos, 31% approve, compared with 44% in June; 63% of Black Americans support the protests, down from 81%, with more now saying they neither approve nor disapprove.
Eighty-four percent of Black Americans, but just 42% of white Americans and 50% of Latinos, say police more often use deadly force against a Black person than a white person.
A women kneels Thursday in front of a makeshift memorial in honor of Breonna Taylor at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, Ky.