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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

What American Thinks: Is the Justice System Fair For Everyone?

Grand jury decisions in favor of white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri and on Staten Island in New York have brought the U.S. justice system back into the headlines. As with many issues involving race, black Americans and white Americans have distinctly different views of what happened and why. We decided to find out what America thinks.

While more than half of white voters think the justice system is fair to black and Hispanic Americans, just nine percent (9%) of black voters agree. Similarly, 82% of black voters say black Americans receive unfair treatment from cops, but only one-third of whites agree.

Most black Americans think the Ferguson police officer should be indicted for murder, a view shared by just 15% of whites. Similarly, a majority of blacks says the Justice Department should investigate the case now that the Ferguson officer has not been charged, but just as many whites disagree.

Twenty-two percent (22%) of black Americans think most cops are racist. Just nine percent (9%) of white adults agree.

Despite the ban on profiling announced today by Attorney General Eric Holder, nearly half of white Americans think racial profiling by police is necessary in today’s environment, but most black Americans think it’s an unnecessary violation of civil rights.

But then while three-quarters of whites think the average police officer is a protector of the average citizen, less than a third of blacks agree. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of black Americans see that officer as a threat. That could be in part because while 61% of whites think most deaths at the hands of a cop, as in the Ferguson and Staten Island cases, are the suspect’s fault, a third of blacks thinks it’s usually the police officer's fault.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.