Half of African-Americans in the United States say that police have treated them unfairly because of their skin color, according to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Taken less than a month before the one year-anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the survey confirmed that black and white Americans are starkly divided in their views of law enforcement.
While 71% of black respondents thought police were more likely to use deadly force against African-Americans in their communities, 74% of whites said that race had “nothing to do” with why police in their areas used such force.
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Asked to explain why police violence happens, 62% of whites said the primary reason was that civilians refuse to cooperate with police when they are stopped, while 75% of blacks attributed police violence to the absence of legal consequences for police misconduct.
Only a third of whites agreed that the criminal justice system is too lenient on police when they hurt or kill people, compared to 71% of blacks.
Despite these sharp divisions, recent polling has offered few signs that white Americans are growing more concerned with the condition of African-Americans in the U.S.
The AP-NORC poll found that a majority of white Americans who live in diverse communities - neighborhoods where at least 25% of the population is non-white - believed that police sometimes mistreat minorities.
And Americans of all races and ethnic backgrounds have become less satisfied with “the way blacks are treated in U.S. society,” according to a Gallup poll released this week.