Many Americans were shocked at images of a Minneapolis police precinct building burning down during protests after George Floyd was murdered by local police.
But shocked or not, a majority of respondents in a new poll say the burning of the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct building was “fully justified.” About 57 percent of those surveyed expressed this view.
The poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute found that just 18 percent of respondents said protesters‘ anger was “not at all justified.” Twenty-one present said it was “partially justified.”
On May 25, a clerk from a local Cub Foods store called police about a customer allegedly using a $20 counterfeit bill. The customer was Floyd. After Floyd was handcuffed in the street, one of the cops — Derek Chauvin — kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while three other responding officers either helped Chavin or watched. In videos taken by bystanders, Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd lost consciousness and died.
Soon after as the video was posted on social media, protesters gathered around the Third Precinct. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey ordered police to abandon the building. Protesters stormed the building and set it on fire, Newsweek reported.
The poll revealed that most Americans (57 percent) believe that police are more likely to use excessive force against a Black person than a white person. Only a third of respondents said police were equally likely to use excessive force against a white person in a similar situation.
The poll was conducted from May 28 through June 1 and the results point to “broad shifts” in how Americans view racism and police violence, Insider reported.
Compare the new poll’s results to a 2016 poll taken after the police shooting of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man shot dead at close range by two white Baton Rouge Police Department officers in Louisiana. Back then, just 34 percent of respondents said that police were more likely to use excessive force against Black people, while 52 percent said it was just as likely that such force would be used against white people.
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A 2018 study found that police in the U.S. kill an average 2.8 men daily and Black men are up to four times more likely than whites to be killed by police. About one in 1,000 Black men will be killed by police “over the life course,” another study showed.
Some went to Twitter to express amazement that the U.S. may be coming to more of an understanding about racism — even if just in a survey.
One person tweeted, “I never thought in my life 54% of Americans would think burning a police station is justified. The cops really fucked up.”
Opinion columnist Charles Blow wrote about the destructive power of despair in the New York Times.
“When people feel helpless, like there is nothing left to lose, like their lives already hang in the balance, a wild, swirling, undirected rage is a logical result,” Blow wrote. “You destroy people’s prospects, they’ll destroy your property.”
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