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Poll: Number who think George Floyd's death was murder down more than 20 percent

The proportion of Americans who think that George Floyd's death in police custody last May was murder is down more than 20 percent, according to a USA Today-Ipsos Poll released Friday.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed described Floyd's death as murder, compared to 60 percent who said the same last June. Seventeen percent said they didn't know how to describe it, compared to only 4 percent who said the same last year.

Eight percent said they believed it was an accident, compared to 3 percent in June.

The survey comes as the trial on murder and manslaughter charges for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is set to start next week in Minneapolis.

Floyd died last May after Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. His death set off a series of protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

The House on Wednesday passed a police reform bill bearing Floyd's name, which is aimed at overhauling policing standards.

The poll found that more Black Americans, at 64 percent, viewed Floyd's death as murder than white Americans, at 28 percent. However, 33 percent of white Americans described the incident as negligence on the police officer's behalf, compared to 16 percent of Black Americans.

Sixty percent of those who have heard something about the trial say they hope Chauvin is convicted, including 54 percent of white Americans and 76 percent of Black Americans. 

The poll surveyed 1,165 adults online between March 1-2. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

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