Posted on August 7, 2015

Blacks Divided on Whether Police Treat Minorities Fairly

Art Swift, Gallup, August 6, 2015

Black Americans are divided over whether their local police treat racial minorities, including blacks, fairly or unfairly. Fifty-two percent of blacks say local police treat these minorities “very fairly” or “fairly,” while 48% say the police act “unfairly” or “very unfairly.” In contrast, 73% of national adults, 71% of Hispanics and 78% of whites say the police treat racial minorities fairly.

{snip} This is the first time Gallup has asked this question, so it is not possible to know whether these attitudes have changed from the past. However, prior Gallup research shows that blacks’ confidence in police is a bit lower over the past two years, and that more broadly, nonwhites’ views of police officers as honest and ethical declined sharply last year.

{snip} More blacks (38%) say they want a greater police presence in their local communities than do whites (18%) or Americans more broadly (23%). In general, though, majorities of these major groups profess wanting “no change” in the police presence in their local community. However, blacks are the least likely to say this at 51%, compared with Hispanics at 59% and whites at 74%. Only small percentages of any group say they want a smaller police presence than currently exists.


It is telling that among all groups–blacks, whites, Hispanics and overall national adults–who believe minorities have been treated unfairly, relatively small percentages want a smaller police presence in their local communities. This could mean that despite high-profile incidents, Americans recognize that police are needed in their area.