NEW YORK – U.S. blacks are twice as likely as whites to view the fatal Missouri shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer through the lens of race, according to a nationwide poll released on Monday.
Four out of 5 black respondents said the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson on Aug. 9 and the ensuing week of sometimes violent protests highlighted important issues of race in America that need to be discussed. Fewer than 2 in 5 whites viewed the shooting and protests in that way, according to the survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Most of the 21,000 residents in Ferguson are black. The eight nights of clashes in the St. Louis suburb have pitted mostly black demonstrators against mostly white police.
Some residents have said Brown’s death symbolizes how blacks are treated unfairly in a town run by a white minority. Roughly two-thirds of black people polled agreed, saying police tactics had gone too far. Only a third of whites said law enforcement had been too heavy-handed.
The poll also showed that 76 percent of black respondents had little or no confidence in the police investigation into the shooting, while over half of whites said they were fairly or very confident in probes by law enforcement.