A new Gallup poll shows that Black confidence in police has rebounded to pre-COVID and pre-George Floyd levels, still lower than other racial groups but higher than it was last summer during and after protests that followed Floyd’s killing in police custody.
In the poll, 27% of Black respondents had quite or a lot of confidence in police, up from only 19% last August when confidence among blacks hit a low point. The number compared to 56% of adults overall who had confidence in the police.
The discrepancy between Black confidence and that of other groups was the largest in the poll, which measured confidence in a number of U.S. institutions.
The numbers of adult Americans who had confidence in public schools, newspapers, medical systems, churches and tech companies was similar in the poll between Black and white respondents.
Police confidence still shaky
While the numbers for blacks show a rebound to similar numbers from 2014 to 2019, the number of adults overall showing confidence in police is still slightly lower than before Floyd’s death.
The racial gap in police confidence has existed since 1993 when Gallup started measuring, but is larger now than at most points in the poll’s history, when it was about 25 points.
After George Floyd’s death, a national conversation about police behavior revealed that racial profiling and other such methods had been used against many blacks in ways that they did not seem to be used against whites in similar circumstances.
While many argued that the discrepancies had more to do with income or social class than race, the disparity struck many as wrong and led to a push for police reform that seems to have done more harm than good.
Police defunding backlash
Crime rates in cities that have moved toward police reform and defunding have increased dramatically, which has led to a backlash against defunding and some reforms.
Even a poll from last August showed that 81% of Blacks did not want to see less of a police presence in their area.
People know instinctively that they are better off with police in the area, even if there have been some cases of unfair treatment.
After all, police are not above the law and can be prosecuted if they break it, just as much as anyone. Until then, shouldn’t they get the same benefit of the doubt that others want them to give?