Most Americans believe protesters justified in anger over killing of George Floyd

Most Americans believe protesters justified in anger over killing of George Floyd
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The majority of Americans say that the anger expressed by protesters over the police killing of George Floyd is justified, a new Monmouth polls finds.

In the poll released Tuesday, 57 percent of respondents said that the anger over Floyd's killing is justified, 21 percent said that it was partially justified and 18 percent said it wasn't justified at all.

Fifty-four percent of Americans said that the actions taken by demonstrators are either somewhat or fully justified, compared to 38 percent who said that the actions weren't justified at all.

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“It seems we have reached a turning point in public opinion where white Americans are realizing that black Americans face risks when dealing with police that they do not. They may not agree with the violence of recent protests, but many whites say they understand where that anger is coming from,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

Protests around the country have raged since May 25 when Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by Minneapolis police when an officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, continuing to do so after Floyd was clearly unconscious.

Tensions between protesters and law enforcement have escalated, leading to looting, rioting and more reports of police brutality and officer-involved deaths.

Close to half of the states in the country and Washington, D.C., have mobilized their National Guards, and large cities across the U.S. have implemented curfews to try to curb nighttime protests.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents said that police are more likely to use excessive force on black Americans, with 33 percent saying that police are just as likely to use excessive force on a person regardless of race.

Additionally, three out of four respondents said that race and ethnic discrimination are big problems in the U.S., up from around 50 percent in 2015.

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President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE, who has taken a controversial hard-line stance against the protests, saw his approval rating drop in the poll.

Fifty-four percent of Americans disapprove the job Trump is doing as president, up from 51 percent last month. Forty-two percent said that they approved of Trump's performance, down 1 point from May.

On Monday, Trump mobilized thousands of military personnel to tranquilize the protests that had taken place outside the White House for the past several days.

During a call with the nation's governors, Trump told the state leaders to "dominate" protesters by deploying their respective National Guards and "take back your streets."

Monday evening, peaceful protesters around Lafayette Square — right across from the White House — were forcefully pushed back by tear gas from law enforcement. The unprovoked aggression by law enforcement allowed Trump to walk the short distance from the Rose Garden to St. John's Church, which has been vandalized in previous protests, for a photo op of him holding a Bible.