Blacks, whites sharply divided over response to Ferguson shooting

McClatchy Washington BureauAugust 18, 2014 


A lone protestor with a peace sign runs down West Florissant Avenue to escape tear gas and smoke bombs fired at demonstrators on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)


Blacks and whites are starkly divided over reactions to the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, in Ferguson, Missouri, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

By a 4 to 1 margin, blacks said the incident “raises important issues about race that merit discussion.” Whites, by a 47 to 37 percent margin, said “the issue of race is getting more attention that it deserves.”

The Pew survey, conducted August 14 to 17, noted that “comparably large racial differences are evident in opinions about whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown’s death and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.”

About two of three blacks said the police went too far in responding to the shooting. One third of whites felt that way, while roughly equal percentages said the police response was about right and another 35 percent had no response.

“Whites also are nearly three times as likely as blacks to express at least a fair amount of confidence in the investigations into the shooting,” Pew found. About half said they had a lot or a fair amount of confidence, but three of four blacks had little or no confidence.

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