US survey highlights mistrust of police
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Ronald Johnson (L) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who was appointed by the governor to take control of security operations in the city of Ferguson after the shooting death of Michael Brown orders the arrest of a person (R) as a small crowd of demonstrators make their voices heard on August 23, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. AFP PhotoA survey laid bare the distrust the public harbors toward police in the United States on Monday, the same day a funeral was held for a black teenager shot dead by a white policeman.
The fatal August 9 shooting in Ferguson, Missouri of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown has reignited fierce debate about relations between police and African Americans, and police tactics.
Critics say police in the US have become increasingly "militarized" and pointed to the police reaction in the nearly two weeks of protests -- some violent -- that roiled Ferguson, with some accusing them of being heavy-handed.
The USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll found that 65 percent of respondents said police did "only a fair" or a poor job in holding police officers accountable when misconduct occurs, compared with 30 percent who say they do an excellent or good job.
There were similar findings when it came to the question of treating racial groups equally and using the right amount of force.
The numbers have changed little since 2009, according to Pew.
There was an even split when asked if police departments nationwide do a good job in protecting people from crime.
The numbers, however, were vastly different when divided between black and white people.
More than nine of 10 African Americans say the police do an "only fair" or poor job when it comes to equal treatment and appropriate force.
The poll of 1,501 adults, taken Wednesday through Sunday by landline and cellphone, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.