Do Americans still trust BLM movement? Faith in protests dips by 10% as law enforcement regains trust: Poll
Viewpoints on ex-cop Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd last May, have changed with 17% now saying that they don't know how to describe his act of pressing knee on Floyd's neck
Last summer, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests swept the country in the wake of a killing of a few individuals of color at the hands of the police. Law-enforcement agencies faced a massive backlash over the deaths of the likes of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, and demand for defunding of police forces grew strong. However, a new poll has suggested that things have changed since then as most Americans have lost faith in the BLM movement and regained trust in the local law enforcement.
According to the survey conducted by USA Today and Ipsos, while 60 percent of America’s adults trusted the movement to promote justice and equal treatment of people in June, it has come down to 50 percent currently. On the other hand, while 56 percent banked on the local police to do the same in June 2020, the number has gone up to 69 percent. Viewpoints have also changed over the role of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is accused of murdering Floyd last May. In June, 60 percent called Floyd’s death on May 25 a murder but now, it has come down to 36 percent. And while four percent said last year that they didn’t know how to describe Chauvin’s act of pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck and ignoring his objections that he couldn’t breathe, that number has now gone up to 17 percent. “Uncertainty has grown about how to characterize the incident, caught on video, when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck and ignored his protests that he couldn’t breathe,” the USA TODAY said.
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“The survey finds complicated and shifting views about Chauvin's actions and broader questions of race. On many issues, there is a chasm in the perspective between Black people and White people,” it said. Chauvin’s trial is set to begin in Minneapolis on March 8.
According to the poll which was held on March 1 and 2, and covered 1,165 American adults, nearly two-thirds of Black Americans (64 percent) saw Floyd’s death as a murder. Among the Whites, the number stood at 28 percent. White Americans are more inclined to call it the police officer’s “negligence” – 33 percent as compared with 16 percent among the Black respondents.
Reverse scenario over trust on BLM, local police
While 75 percent of Black people express trust in the BLM but only 42 percent do the same, the scenario reverses when it comes to trusting the local police – 77 percent of the White people but only 42 percent of Blacks. But having said that, viewpoints in both the groups have changed in the same direction when compared to the 2020 survey. Among the Blacks, trust in the BLM movement has fallen by 12 percent (from 87 percent) while that in local police has gone up by 14 points (from 28 percent). Among the White respondents, trust in BLM went down by eight points (from 50 percent) since June while that in the local police went up by 12 percent (from 65 percent).
“It’s a slippery slope,” Steve Laskowitz, a White veteran from Boca Raton, Florida, told USA Today in a follow-up interview. "Generally speaking, people should be allowed to protest. People should be allowed to demonstrate. They shouldn't be allowed to attack others, attack buildings, trespass, shouting at somebody from the street.”
The TODAY report said the percentage of those who feel race relations have worsened in the US over the past year is almost four times the number who say they have improved – 40 percent as against 13 percent. Among the Black respondents, the gap is even wider – 54 percent say race relations have turned worse while only 10 percent feel they have improved.