Wide Racial Divide on How New Yorkers Feel About NYPD & Eric Garner's Death, Poll Shows

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One thing most New Yorker agree on: Officer Daniel Pantaleo should face prosecution for killing Eric Garner.

In a new Quinnipiac University poll, 68 percent of New Yorkers said that "there is absolutely no excuse for how the police acted" and 64 percent believe that Staten Island Distriact Attorney Daniel Donovan should press criminal charges.

But even within that general point of agreement there are stark racial divides.

See Also: Why the Outrage After Michael Brown's Death Was Different From the Outrage After Eric Garner's Death

On the question of Garner's death, 90 percent of black respondents and 71 percent of Hispanic respondents responded that there was "no excuse" for the police's actions. Meanwhile, 52 percent of white respondents gave that answer and more than a third stated that "it is understandable that the police could have acted this way."

Similarly 80 percent of black respondents and 67 percent of Hispanic respondents approved of criminal charges against Pantaleo, while 50 percent of whites did.

More black respondents approved than disapproved of Mayor Bill de Blasio's response to Garner's death. For white respondents it was the reverse.

See Also: Eric Garner's Death: How a Video Undermines a Police Narrative

The racial divide in the city's perception about the police department was an overarching theme of the poll results.

For instance:

  • 72 percent of black respondents said that NYPD generally uses "excessive force" when faced with a possible criminal; 23 percent of white respondents gave that answer.
  • 43 percent of black respondents and 46 percent of Hispanic respondents said that "being the victim of police brutality something [they] personally worry about";12 percent of white respondents felt that way.
  • 65 percent of black respondents and 49 percent of Hispanic respondents said that police in their community "are generally tougher on blacks than on whites"; 28 percent of white respondents gave that answer and 61 percent said that "the police treat them both the same."
  • 43 percent of white respondents and 35 percent of Hispanic "think of the police more as friends" than enemies; 20 percent of black respondents felt that way.
  • 40 percent of black respondents and 39 percent of Hispanic respondents disapproved of the way the police in their community is doing their job;17 percent of white respondents disapproved.
  • As for the NYPD job performance in general, 67 percent of white respondents approved, compared to 32 percent of black respondents and 42 percent of Hispanic respondents.

One other thing most New Yorker agree on: 48 percent of white, 47 percent of black, and 49 percent of Hispanic respondents answered that "being the victim of a crime something [they] personally worry about."

Next: the video of Pantaleo choking Garner.


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