Black Americans are divided over whether their local police treat racial minorities, including blacks, fairly or unfairly. Fifty-two percent of blacks say local police treat these minorities “very fairly” or “fairly,” while 48% say the police act “unfairly” or “very unfairly.” In contrast, 73% of national adults, 71% of Hispanics and 78% of whites say the police treat racial minorities fairly.
In the wake of high-profile incidents in the past year, including police action involving black Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island and Baltimore, Americans have been accustomed to more media portrayals of alleged police brutality. Numerous black Americans have discussed their treatment by police, shining a light on an issue that has been gaining prominence in recent years. This is the first time Gallup has asked this question, so it is not possible to know whether these attitudes have changed from the past. However, prior Gallup research shows that blacks’ confidence in police is a bit lower over the past two years, and that more broadly, nonwhites’ views of police officers as honest and ethical declined sharply last year.