Most say ‘not guilty’ verdict in Chauvin trial would be step backward for race relations: poll


Most surveyed Americans say that a not guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second and third degree murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, would be a step back for race relations in the country, according to a Monmouth University Poll released Thursday.

Sixty-three percent said that if Chauvin is found innocent on the charges, it would be a negative step for race relations. Only 5 percent said it would be positive and 29 percent said it would not change race relations as a whole.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that if Chauvin is found guilty of murder it would be a positive step for race relations, while 12 percent said it would be a negative step. Forty-six percent said race relations would not change either way.

Monmouth found significant differences among white Americans in their opinions based on partisan identity.

Just 13 percent of whites who identify as or lean Republican said that a guilty verdict would be a positive outcome for race relations, compared with 56 percent of those who identify as Democratic or independent.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of white Republicans say that a not guilty verdict would negatively impact race relations, while 77 percent of other white respondents felt the same way.

The poll was released as Chauvin’s defense rested in his trial. Video of the arrest of Floyd has featured prominently in the prosecution’s case against Chauvin, who knelt for nearly nine minutes on Floyd’s neck during an arrest in May.

Chauvin invoked the Fifth Amendment on Thursday, meaning that he will not testify in his own trial. Closing arguments are expected Monday.

Floyd’s killing sparked a wave of anti-police brutality protests over the summer and sparked a larger conversation around policing in America.

Thirty-six percent of those polled said that the anger of the protesters regardless of their actions is fully justified, down from 57 percent who said so in early June. Another 30 percent said the anger is partially justified while 32 percent said it is not all justified.

Monmouth University surveyed 800 adults aged 18 and older between April 8-12. It has a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points

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