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5 Aug, 2020 22:33

Do black Americans really support defunding the police? Over 80% want cops to stay & keep patrolling their communities, poll shows

Do black Americans really support defunding the police? Over 80% want cops to stay & keep patrolling their communities, poll shows

Despite Black Lives Matter protests raging across the country and moves to defund police departments or cut back their budgets, a new poll suggests black citizens don’t support the efforts to remove cops from the streets.

The Gallup poll, released on Wednesday, was conducted throughout July and involved over 36,000 adults across the US.

A whopping 81 percent of black respondents said they want police to spend the same amount of time in their neighborhoods that they already do or to have even more of a presence. The results are similar across races, with 88 percent of white Americans, 83 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 72 percent of Asian Americans all saying the same thing. 

The poll also confirmed that black Americans are more likely to see a police presence in their communities, with 73 percent of respondents answering that they notice cops in their neighborhoods “sometimes” or “very often.” That’s compared to 65 percent of non-black respondents. 

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While that gap could be seen as supporting the charge that black communities are over-policed, it had little impact on whether citizens wanted more or less police presence. “The slightly elevated frequency with which black Americans see police in their neighborhood has limited impact on their preferences for changing the local police presence,” Gallup wrote in their findings. 

About a third of black citizens who responded that they “often” see police in their neighborhoods said they would like there to be less of a presence, but over 50 percent in that category don’t want any change.

The poll did also show that very few black Americans are confident that a run-in with a police officer would go well. Only 18 percent said they were very confident such an encounter would go well, while 43 percent said they were somewhat confident. That distrust of police actually jumps among the general public, with 48 percent saying they were very confident an encounter with an officer would go well, while 37 percent were only somewhat confident.

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While the results show a general apprehension towards trusting police, especially among black Americans, there is little from the poll that supports the efforts in cities across the US that are either slashing police department budgets or moving to completely abolish them.

“The majority of all other black Americans, including those who are ‘not too confident’ about receiving considerate police treatment, want the police to spend the same amount of time, with additional percentages favoring more time,” Gallup concludes. 

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in major cities across the country, with some in places like Portland, Oregon turning violent and requiring a federal response. 

But if Gallop’s results are to be trusted, defunding police is not the answer most citizens support, even black Americans. 

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