According to a USA Today/Ipsos poll, faith in the Black Lives Matter movement has drastically fallen while trust in the police has steadily risen following violent protests that have swept the nation over the last year.
Jury selection begins Monday for the trial of Minneapolis former police officer Derek Chavin in the case of George Floyd’s death. The case has already triggered nationwide protests and could cause further violence between police and Black Lives Matter protesters. On Wednesday, the House passed a police reform bill in Floyd’s honor, which targets policing standards.
There seems to be a definitive line between how Americans of different races view the matter.
In June of 2020, another USA Today/Ipsos poll showed that 60% of those interviewed felt that Floyd was murdered. That number has plummeted to 36% in the recent poll. People are not sure how to define what happened allegedly due to facts in the case. Chauvin was caught on video putting his knee on Floyd’s neck who then said he couldn’t breathe. He later passed away. He reportedly had a number of drugs in his system at the time of his death. At the time 4% didn’t know how to view the incident, now 17% are uncertain.
“There were eight minutes that the officer could have made a different decision, and he willfully held a man,” stated Valda Pugh who was among those surveyed. “It was a murder. It was willful – maybe not premeditated. Nonetheless, the young man died.”
Americans’ trust in the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen and their faith in local law enforcement has risen since protests demanding social justice swept the nation last year, according to an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll. https://t.co/2PGWDwP7RX pic.twitter.com/x1jyCNpmer
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 5, 2021
Another man who was interviewed named Kevin Haworth took a different view: “I think it was a police officer doing his job,” he said. “It was just a tragedy, but I think he was within the limits of his duty of jurisdiction.”
There seems to be a racial rift in how people view Floyd’s death according to the poll. 64% of black Americans say his death was murder. 28% of white people interviewed felt that way. 33% of white Americans interviewed believe it was the officer’s “negligence” that resulted in Floyd’s death. Only 16% of black respondents agreed with that conclusion.
Even with those numbers, according to USA Today, “Americans who have heard at least something about Chauvin’s trial say 4 to 1, or 60%-15%, that they hope Chauvin is convicted. That included 54% of white Americans and 76% of Black Americans.”
The poll included interviews with 1,165 adults and was conducted on Monday and Tuesday. The error rate is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
In June of 2020, 60% of Americans voiced faith in the Black Lives Matter movement. 56% trusted the police.
Things have now dramatically shifted. The previous faith in BLM has declined to 50%. Trust in law enforcement, however, has sharply risen to 69%.
USA Today covered the shifting viewpoints:
Black Americans and white Americans now express very different views: 75% of Black people but just 42% of white people express trust in Black Lives Matter, while 77% of white people but just 42% of Black people trust local police.
But viewpoints in both demographic groups have moved in the same direction compared with the June 2020 survey. Among Black respondents, trust in Black Lives Matter has fallen by 12 points and trust in local police has risen by 14 points. Among white respondents, trust in Black Lives Matter has fallen by 8 points and trust in local police has risen by 12 points.
The poll also noted that white Americans believe by 24 points that law and order is a more important issue than the right to protest. Black Americans believe the right to protest is more important by 16 points.
The percentage of individuals who believe race relations have gotten worse over the past year is staggering. It’s nearly four times that of those who say it has improved. 54% of black respondents say race relations have worsened.
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