Friday, February 3, 2023

Poll: Public Confidence In Policing Drops


From the latest Washington Post/ ABC News poll:

Public confidence in police dropped after Tyre Nichols was fiercely beaten by officers in Memphis last month, with Americans increasingly doubtful that law enforcement officers are properly trained in using appropriate force or that they treat White and Black people equally, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The increased skepticism about police appears to be fueled by declining trust on the part of White and Hispanic Americans, compared with just a few years ago. For the first time since the Post-ABC poll began asking about the issue in 2014, just under half of White Americans say they are confident about police avoiding excessive force or racial bias. About two-thirds of Hispanic Americans lack confidence in police on both fronts.

The poll was conducted after police stopped Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx employee, on Jan. 7 in Memphis and then brutally beat him. Nichols died three days later. The beating spawned local, state and federal investigations, and five officers involved were fired and charged with second-degree murder. Video footage of the beating was made public on Friday, showing officers repeatedly hitting and kicking Nichols, leading to nationwide outrage.

The Post-ABC poll suggests that the Memphis case — the latest in a long line of law enforcement uses of force, many captured on video, that ignited protests — has depressed Americans’ view of police officers.

Overall, 39 percent of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” confident police are adequately trained to avoid using excessive force, and 60 percent believe police are not, according to the Post-ABC poll.

That level of confidence in police is even lower than it was shortly after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020. Floyd’s death, along with the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police earlier that year, prompted protests across the country and drove calls for police reform. A Post-ABC poll conducted that summer found that 47 percent of Americans were confident police were adequately trained to use excessive force... (our emphasis)

Not surprisingly, there's a significant racial divide in the trust/ confidence about use of force and training, though even among Republicans and older white Americans there's been a drop in confidence that police are being adequately trained to avoid excessive force.  

Apparently, until a baton cracks their skull, some need more proof.

No comments: