Poll: Voters Mostly Approve of Police, but Views Split along Racial Lines

Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2014

A solid majority of California voters believes local police have a tough job and do it well, but nearly a third say law enforcement targets minorities unfairly, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The survey found attitudes toward police split along racial and ethnic lines: Blacks, Latinos and Asians were substantially more likely than whites to say that police are too aggressive or treat whites better than others.

The contrasting views reflect persistent tension between law enforcement and minority communities in California–even decades after police clashes with African Americans sparked the 1965 and 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

Black voters, the poll found, were consistently most critical of police, followed by Latinos and Asians, while whites had the most favorable views of law enforcement. Two-thirds of blacks said it was true that police target minorities unfairly; less than a quarter of whites agreed.

Poll respondent Ralph Berry, an African American who lives in Bellflower, said in a follow-up interview that young black men were especially susceptible to unwarranted scrutiny by police. Typical, he said, was the time years ago when an officer followed him around the block and checked his plates as he searched for a parking spot in downtown Long Beach.

“You’re looked at as suspect, regardless of where you’re at or what you’re doing,” said Berry, now 55. “It’s automatically assumed the worst.”


In South Los Angeles, the fatal police shooting last month of Ezell Ford Jr., a 25-year-old black man, has threatened to erode the credibility and goodwill that the LAPD has worked hard to build over the last decade. On Friday, the shooting of Ford was a key focus of an NAACP conference on police brutality in Exposition Park.

Despite its evidence of lingering concerns, the poll showed that police overall are popular in an era marked by steadily declining crime and efforts by police agencies to engage with communities disproportionately affected by crime.

Overall, 82% of California voters agreed that local police have a tough job and for the most part do it well. Yet even on that question, there was at least some racial divide: 88% of whites thought it was true, while 74% of blacks, 71% of Latinos and 73% of Asians agreed.

There also was a divergence of views on the question of engagement, a major focus for police in Los Angeles and other cities. Among whites, 81% agreed that police were willing to engage, but only 55% of blacks, 68% of Latinos and 69% of Asians agreed.

A bigger split emerged over the statement that local police were ineffective, too slow to respond to calls and nowhere to be found in an emergency. Nearly half of African Americans agreed, while 40% of Latinos, 24% of Asians and 18% of whites thought it was true.

Historian Josh Sides, author of “L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present,” said the fact that even more blacks didn’t see police as ineffective showed progress in easing friction between police and that community.

“I can say unequivocally there’s been a significant improvement in police relations with African Americans,” he said.

Nonetheless, 42% of black voters said that local police were too aggressive and more of a threat to people than anything else; 28% of Latinos, 21% of Asians and 11% of whites agreed.


California voters also were divided on whether police were tougher on blacks, Latinos, Asians or whites, or treated all groups equally. Overall, 40% said police treated everyone the same, 33% said they were tougher on blacks, and 10% said they were tougher on Latinos. (Almost no one felt police were tougher on whites or Asians.)

But substantial shares of whites, blacks and Asians agreed that if any group was unfairly targeted, it was blacks: 33% of whites thought so, as did 61% of blacks and 51% of Asians.

Latinos were divided, with 28% saying police were tougher on them, 24% saying they were tougher on blacks, and 34% saying they treat all groups the same. Just 19% of blacks believed police treated everyone the same, with 31% of Asians and 44% of whites agreeing.


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  • JohnEngelman

    Blacks have more reason to fear black criminals than white police men.

    • LHathaway

      Unless, of course, they are Trying to turn them all into criminals? Don’t worry, even criminals can get amnesty.

  • MekongDelta69

    “Blacks and Hispanics think they are victims.”

    Blacks and browns ALWAYS think they’re ‘victims’ – no matter what.


      You notice how the media constantly writes about racial profiling but never mentions gender profiling. The vast majority of people arrested are male – so why is there nothing written about profiling men? I mean if they’re going to follow that train of thought the next logical step should be driving while male.

      • Stiv44

        That cuts across racial lines and includes driving while YOUNG and male.

    • LHathaway

      In their minds, it gives them a free pass.

  • John Smith

    Why is it that Asians who come to this country never whine about the police, in spite of this “culture” being far more foreign to them?

    (Note to the Englemans of the world – To avoid an endless stream of quibbling and hair splitting replies — my simple question above is NOT meant to imply I want a bunch of Asians to flood the country because of work ethic, adaptability or IQ. Rather, this is meant to call out the constant carping by blacks and also hispanics.)

  • TheCogitator

    Blacks commit more crimes, but the police are out of control. We are living in a police state. They are no longer peacekeepers. All they are interested in is arresting and confiscating property whenever they can. Never be foolish enough to think the police are your friend. Never trust them and avoid them whenever possible. The whole criminal “justice” system is corrupt.

    • ElComadreja

      The cops are not our friends but neither are any of these blacks and browns. It’s a sad state of affairs.

      • TheCogitator

        I agree, it is very sad. But cops have the weight of society behind them, and the courts seem to rule that they can do no wrong, so I find them to be the most dangerous. I live in an all white neighborhood with the closest blacks being miles away, so I can pretty much avoid them. Cop are another story. The peacekeeper cops of the past seem to be mostly gone. They have been replaced by belligerent thugs who are always trying to get a big arrest out of any situation. Never ever trust a cop.

  • Lewis33

    “Nonetheless, 42% of black voters said that local police were too aggressive and more of a threat to people than anything else; 28% of Latinos, 21% of Asians and 11% of whites agreed.”

    Paging Fred Reed, John Engelman. Your people are showing their true colors.

  • Whitetrashgang

    Tougher on Blacks ? I hope so, who commits more than half the crime wherever they are.

  • Puggg

    I’m glad that black people don’t think very highly of the cops.

    What would worry me is if they start having high approval ratings of cops. It would mean the cops are doing something wrong.

    • The way some cops look for easy arrest material is something that half my life later, I still won’t forgive. Let’s see what happens when I have to go on a jury after someone hurts officer Crumpke.

      They need to think some more about this stuff, because when they harass someone for a few years straight, he’s apt to remember it 25 years later.

      • Whitetrashgang

        So true, for people who don’t know LE, better to arrest someone for speeding than chase after someone for a murder. A bird in the hand so to speak.

      • There’s some truth in what you say, but the people cops mostly “harass” are gangsters and other low-lifes that feed off the general populace and who always look for new victims.

        The cops look for any opportunity to arrest these dirt-bags as a means of keeping them off the streets so they can’t victimize innocent citizens. Those who most complain of ‘harassment” from the cops are most often the types who deserve such “harassment.” Yes, there are exceptions, but it’s not as common as people think.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        How can you be on a jury if you are an ex-felon?

        If you do something nice for someone they will forget it in a day or two. If you do something bad to someone they will remember it for the rest of their lives.


        • World_War_Me

          “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” William Shakespeare (“Julius Caesar”)

  • dd121

    I’m so surprised to learn that criminals don’t like the police.

  • Stiv44

    First of all I’m a white race realist too, but:

    You also don’t know all the police officers in the world. They often have a gang mentality. Complaining about their bad behavior isn’t always the best idea either. I know from experience.

    • Drifter745

      You don’t know all of them either I’m guessing. Another victim of media propaganda. Pity.

      • Stiv44

        Another victim of overzealous and highly aggressive police officers.

        • Drifter745

          Just for my information and to know where your resentment lies, would you be willing to share your personal experiences with law enforcement?

          • In one case for me it was being handcuffed for a burnt-out tail-light and all the stuff in my car torn out and thrown on the sidewalk next to where I was laying.

            They asked me “Do you work?” I explained that I was a chemical engineer in the microelectronics industry here. That seemed to really annoy them.

          • Drifter745

            There’s more to this story.

          • That was long before I had a felony record. I was driving home from my mother’s place, off I-25 and south on Academy Boulevard, past the King Soopers (a.k.a. Kroger) near where the Empire Asian Buffet used to be. They were just real hard cases back then.

            All that for a “fix-it” ticket, but I had to pick all my groceries and everything else back up or they would cite me for littering.

          • Drifter745

            We’ll I can say this, as a felon unfortunately you will be looked at differently. How many of your non-felonious friends have had these experiences?

          • That was before, when I was research engineer.

          • Drifter745

            Well then something obviously went wrong. Hate to hear tht.

          • Stiv44

            It began as a dispute with my then employer and escalated into the police being called. I wasn’t going to be paid for time I had worked and earned; I became very angry and had an argument with my boss about it.

            It was years ago and I needed that money badly.

          • Drifter745

            Ok, that’s a civil issue. What else?

          • Stiv44

            The police confronted me at home and egos got entangled in it. That was really the problem that led to my formal complaint with the chief…and then off and on low level harassment by the officer in question and his friends on the force.

          • Drifter745

            As an internal affairs investigator, can I ask what form did the harassment take?

          • Stiv44

            Being tailed on the highway and told over his P.A. stytem not to stop; showing up whenever and whereever I happened to be and making a big show out of asking me what I’m doing; telling me that I had to leave certain public places, for example, stores etc.etc.

          • Drifter745

            And there was NOTHiNG else behind your personal encounters?

          • Stiv44

            The initial argument with the officer did turn into personal insults starting with his disrespectful language to me, that I can’t repeat here, because it was questioning my sexuality for no apparent reason.

            Isn’t that good(bad)enough?

          • Drifter745

            My point being these types of encounters are most often preceded by a personal issue of some sort. It is not a typical encounter. Based upon the few details you have provided the officer was out of line. However, you can’t paint all officers with such a broad brush due to your personal interactions with one officer in particular.

  • Conrad

    “Blacks and Hispanics think they are victims.”
    They think they are victims because they believe that they have a right to commit crimes.

    • 1stworlder

      Well the age of consent is 12 in mexico

  • Jo

    Glad to see a race realist police officer. Whites will probably need you in the future.

    • Drifter745

      Absolutely, but I don’t look at it as a position deserving of praise. I see it as a necessity.

      • Jo

        Stay safe!

  • Last night I posted the story of the black Django Unchained actress who screamed racism, claiming the police arrested her for kissing her white husband in public. A few hours later I updated the post with the news that witnesses called the police because she was having SEX IN PUBLIC with her white boyfriend.

    Blacks have ZERO CREDIBILITY in my eyes. They lie about anything and nothing. Even when whites make them Hollywood movie stars.

    The problem is that the police are being reigned in by the politicians at every turn, which makes life even more dangerous for whites and decent blacks and Mexicans who want to be left alone.

    • LHathaway

      Wasn’t the Real story that the girl has a white boyfriend?

    • World_War_Me

      Remember the essay by that lawyer who worked in the ghetto? He said his black clients would often lie to him for no reason whatsoever, even when lying wouldn’t benefit them in any way. If I find the link, I’ll post it.

  • Luca

    I could never be a cop. I wouldn’t be able to afford the bullets.

  • dd121

    Since I started going the speed limit a few years ago, I’ve had no interaction with the police.

    • HE2

      Our community has a great police force, courteous, friendly, competent and White.
      They know the difference between who belongs here and an Oakland black or mestizo casing the streets for a home to burglarize or doorstep delivered UPS package to cadge. Those people are “profiled” with my blessings.
      Some locals whine that the police issue too many speeding or vehicular cell phone use tickets. Local speedsters offer our low crime as proof the police issue tickets indiscriminately to document that they are doing their job.
      I do not agree.
      The truth is, type A drivers who seem to think our main street is a speedway are regularly pulled over and ticketed for speeding or blabbing on their cells. Often both. It is not about the police needing “something to do.”
      I have minimal tolerance for complaints about cops trying to do their jobs. There is no salary that would induce me to work in hands on law enforcement.
      The over-stressed, frustrated officers I met while working in inner city Trauma were just as exemplary. Talk about a job that will not let you do your job, that would be inner city law enforcement. Sheesh.

      • dd121

        I pretty much agree with everything you say. I never resented the cops for writing me a speeding ticket. I was speeding and deserved it.
        I view the cops as being the only thing that stands between us and the anarchy of minorities. So I try to support them as best I can.

      • TheCogitator

        I don’t mind cops writing people tickets for reckless driving, but most speed limits are set too low so that they can go out and raise revenue by writing tickets to people are not endangering anyone.

        • HE2

          Our main street, though in California, is very New England-ish. Nice shops, bookstores, sidewalk cafes, coffee shops, crosswalks, pedestrians, and just one or two stop lights. A low speed limit is required on a street of this nature. Side streets are residential with family homes and small parks where kids play. Those areas have the usual 25 mph established speed limits, school areas, 15.
          Type A, muscle car, mobile talking while driving people cannot seem to abide by these necessary limits. Too bad. In my view, they deserve to be pulled over. Cops will cite cars with noise pollution mega-speaker hip hop blasting, too. Fine with me.

  • libertarian1234

    “Blacks and Hispanics think they are victims.”

    That’s why they need to go home.

  • True, most cops don’t abuse their authority nor violate the rights of others “for no reason.” In the vast majority of instances when people claim to have been bullied by police, they leave out important details and often misrepresent what actually occurred.

    Yes, some cops have indeed abused their powers, but the nature of modern police work today does not permit this kind of thing to go on for long without other cops reporting it or putting an end to it (via Internal Affairs investigations, etc.).

  • TheCogitator

    Typical police response — it must be your fault. And I don’t care whether you are offended or not — like you are the only one who can be offended.

    I’m not having problems with the police myself as you immediately concluded, but I see so many cases presented online where the police are over the top. They harass people for videoing them, which people have a right to do. They use violence against people where it is not warranted. They lie about what they have done, and much more. They belong to the largest criminal gang, but too many fools think they are heroes. What a joke.

    Maybe you live if Mayberry or some such place, but there are plenty of cops who are belligerent and arrogant. If you really are a cop, and you are not seeing that, you aren’t paying attention. Or maybe you are too cowardly to make waves. For those paying attention, it is apparent that most cop are cowards.

    I hate to have to respond to someone like you online because I’m polite but I’d like to say some things to you where I’d want you there face to face so you could respond however you wished.

    Given what we have now with the police, we would be better off without them.

    • Drifter745

      Reread my pots. Can’t find the part where I said it was your fault. I said these things usually start with some sort of personal issue. I’m sorry you have that chip on your shoulder.

      • TheCogitator

        Apparently you didn’t reread that well.

        You said: “As an officer, I take complete offense with your post. If this is your true sentiment I suspect you have had numerous run-ins with the law and have been in the wrong on most occasions.”

        If that is not saying I was at fault, what was it saying? I don’t have a chip on my shoulder, but I’m sick of police behavior. SWAT teams breaking down doors in the wee hours of the morning and shooting dogs and sometimes innocent people, and on and on. There are lots of sites that report police behavior. Try this one: libertycrier(dot)com/

        And you wonder why so many of us hold you guys in contempt.

        If you really are a good guy, join Oath Keepers. oathkeepers(dot)org/oath/

        • World_War_Me

          There’s a subreddit called bad-cop-no-donut that’s another good source of bad police behavior. It’s usually news articles.

          • TheCogitator

            I’m aware of several such sites, but this was a new one for me. Thanks. If Drifter745 really is a cop and is, or wants to be, a good guy, he needs to understand how the police are behaving in other parts of the country.

            Michael Rivero made a great point when he said: “Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.”

  • [Guest]

    Even a lot of us who are generally pro-police recognize that under the wrong circumstances law-enforcement agents, carrying out the wishes of politicians and media, will do terrible things (as they did in Waco, Texas, in 1993).

    My beliefs, which at one time would have been common among American men, now qualify me as an extremist. When politicians and the media decide to start ridding the country of extremists, do you think the average Joe police officer will carry out his orders? I do.

    • Drifter745

      You’d be surprised at how many officers you actually have on your side. Politicians are not our friends; as officers we are well aware of that.

      • [Guest]

        I do hope that’s true. But I recall watching the clean-cut young white men of law enforcement climbing onto the roof of the Branch Davidian “compound” and thinking, These guys are supposed to be on my side!

        Instead they were on the same side as Bill Clinton and Janet Reno.

        • Alexandra1973

          Wasn’t Eric “My People” Holder Deputy Attorney General back then?

          • [Guest]

            I didn’t recall that, but I looked it up. Yes, he was. And it figures.

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    A lot of Asians whine and complain about racism. Only the Asians at the very top of the food chain don’t complain very much.

    If you asked an Asian doctor, engineer, or lawyer if whites are raciss aginst blacks and browns 99% of them would say yes. They of course would not want to live next to browns or blacks themselves, but they wouldn’t consider themselves to be raciss for that choice: Only whites.


    • ElComadreja

      They are a bunch of hypocrites and not to be trusted.

  • In my writings I support the police sometime and other times go with the police state USA narrative. It would help build support for officers such as yourself if the police had a policy NEVER to shoot the family dog.

  • ElComadreja

    In the northeast the cops will more than likely let an illegal alien go for anything short of murder. A white citizen will get the book thrown at them.

  • Alexandra1973

    I believe there are basically two kinds of cops: the kind that actually care about protecting the people, and the jackbooted thugs/corrupt cops.

    I also believe that blacks are being used to justify a police state. Take the Ferguson riots, for example.

    If we didn’t have blacks in this country, would we have any kind of excuse to have militarized police? Somehow I don’t think so.

    I’ve only had two run-ins, both in the 90s. One was for no muffler–I truthfully told the cop my husband had it in the trunk because he hadn’t put it on yet, and he said just go and get it put on. The other, I was stopped for speeding, got let off with a warning. Since then, nothing.

  • Michael Robert Ryan

    We now live in a anarcho-tyrannical police state and the function of the police (who are increasingly nothing but militarized goons) is to harass and extract revenue from law-abiding whites, not to protect law-abiding whites from black thugs. I see that there are many naive whites posting on this thread who haven’t had their come-to-Jesus moment on this issue yet, but they will.

    Cops are not your friends. Most white cops these days despise non-elite whites (that means you, dear reader) every bit as much as Clinton and Obama do. They are scum. When they get their orders to load you and your white family onto cattle cars headed for the extermination camps, they will obey those orders without hesitation.

  • It’s your choice:

    The white police or the black undertow.

    Not much room for nuance.

    It’s like another great issue of our times, one on which we have a clear choice:

    The Jews or Putin.

    Not much room for nuance there, either.

  • ghettovalley

    Typical borderline retarded mindset of blacks. Logic isn’t really their thing. Of course the police are going to focus most of their time and resources on areas with the highest rates of crime. Here is a crazy idea, stop committing them. Maybe if your entire culture wasn’t centered around ignorance, drug use, and violence the police wouldn’t bother you so much.

  • ghettovalley

    I do not hate the police but I am very suspicious of them and I trust them about as far as I could push one of their shiny new armored personnel carriers. You can say what you want but at the end of the day if ole sarge tells you to go confiscate firearms, or arrest political dissidents, or just about any other unconstitutional order to violate someone’s God given rights 99% of them would do it in a heartbeat. I think that the police would do anything that are they are told to keep those checks coming in. That’s just the reality of the situation.