Racial Attitudes Toward Police Differ Sharply

Black and white Americans in Georgia and across the country have very different experiences with and perceptions of the criminal justice system, as explored in a survey by the Pew Research Center. While a majority of both black and white adults agree that black people are mistreated in the system and subjected to discrimination, their own experiences are sharply different and their understanding of the importance of the issue often varies greatly. While 87% of black respondents said that in general, blacks are treated less fairly in the justice system at all levels, 61% of whites said the same.

However, 79% of black respondents also said that this was a very big problem for the country, while only 32% of whites said the same. The same general spread, including the number of each group who recognized discrimination as a reality, was found in questions about policing. However, white people were far more likely to have warm, positive feelings about police, while black respondents were more neutral. A significant number of black people – 44% – said they had personally been unfairly stopped by police. In particular, 59% of black men said that this had happened to them.

In addition, black respondents were also far more likely to report issues with excessive use of force. While one-third of black respondents said that police used the right amount of force when responding to issues in their communities, three-quarters of white respondents said the same. In addition, whites were far more likely to place their trust in the police department’s ability to hold bad police officers accountable for violations.

People who are dealing with the criminal justice system may face an array of issues, including racial bias or police mistreatment. A criminal law attorney might help people challenge police assertions and put forward a strong defense.

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