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Two years after George Floyd killing, Americans back police reform: Gallup

This photo taken from video provided by WISN 12 News shows police responding to the scene of a shooting at Water Street and Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee, Friday, May 13, 2022. Twenty people were injured in two shootings in downtown Milwaukee near an entertainment district where thousands of people were watching the Bucks play the Celtics in the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals, authorities said. There was no immediate indication whether the two shootings were related or involved fans who were watching the game. (WISN 12 News via AP)

Just over two years after the police killing of George Floyd, the vast majority of Americans say they support changes to policing.

In a Gallup poll conducted from April 24 to May 17, 50 percent of respondents said they support “major changes” to policing, while 39 percent said they support “minor changes.”

Similar proportions of most racial groups say they support some level of police reform, but Black Americans are significantly more likely to support major changes (72 percent) than white (44 percent) and Hispanic (54 percent) Americans.

Despite the overall desire for reform, support for specific proposals has dropped slightly since June 2020, though many proposals are still endorsed by the American public.

Proposals endorsed either “strongly” or “somewhat” by the majority of respondents include ending stop-and-frisk policies, changing legal practices so that police officers face legal action for abuse of power or unnecessary harm and promoting community-based alternatives such as violence intervention.

These proposals are supported by significantly higher proportions of Black adults than Americans in general. Ninety-one percent of Black adults polled supported changes to legal practices compared to 81 percent of the entire population.

Community-based alternatives are endorsed by 88 percent of Black respondents compared to 78 percent of total respondents, and Black adults in the survey (84 percent) were 16 percent more likely to support ending stop-and-frisk than total respondents (68 percent).

Meanwhile, few Americans support removing all lethal weapons from police, shifting police budgets to social programs or abolishing the police altogether.

Significantly less Black respondents (25 percent) said they have had an interaction with the police in the past year, decreasing from 42 percent in 2020, along with lower proportions among white and Hispanic adults surveyed.

Among those who did encounter police, more rate the experience positively (68 percent) compared to 2020 (59 percent).

Support among Black Americans for shifting police budgets to social programs has decreased since 2020 from majority support to only 50 percent support.

Tags Gallup George Floyd police reform Polling

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