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Americans' views on George Floyd's death, BLM protests, and race relations changed dramatically this year: poll


New survey finds Americans overwhelmingly do not want to defund the police

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

May 25 will mark one year since George Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis Police Department officers. The trial of Derek Chauvin, who was charged with the murder of Floyd, is scheduled to begin later this month. March 13 will be the anniversary of the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old who was shot by Louisville police officers. The past year has been punctuated by Black Lives Matter protests and riots, which have altered the opinions of Americans in regards to race relations and trust in law enforcement, according to a new USA Today/Ipsos poll.

People's perspectives on Floyd's death have changed dramatically in the past year. In last year's USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, 60% of respondents described Floyd's death as "murder." This year's poll of 1,165 adults found that only 36% said Floyd was murdered.

Attitudes toward Floyd's cause of death are much different when broken down along racial lines. There were 64% of black Americans who categorize Floyd's death as "murder," while only 28% of white Americans see the death as murder. More white people, 33%, classify Floyd's death as "negligence" by police, but a mere 16% of black respondents label the death as such.

The percent of people who labeled Floyd's death as an "accident" went from 3% in 2020 to 8% in 2021. There were 17% who admitted that they didn't know how to categorize Floyd's death, up from 4% in June.

Trust in Black Lives Matter fell 10% since last year to 50%. Broken down by race, 75% of black Americans trust BLM versus 42% of white Americans who do.

Following the months of civil unrest in American cities and the Capitol riot in January, 49% of those surveyed said law and order is the most important thing to ensure, even if it means limiting peaceful protests.

There are 40% of Americans, including 54% of black Americans, who feel that race relations are getting worse, compared to only 13% who believe it is improving.

The poll found that 69% trust local police and law enforcement to promote justice and equal treatment for people of all races, up from 56%.

The "defund the police" movement, which has been championed by many Democrats, is only supported by 18% of Americans. The radical idea of abolishing the police is supported by a paltry 11%. In fact, 57% of Americans support fully funding the budget for police in their community.

A poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in September found that support for protests against police brutality plummeted substantially from 81% in June to 63% in mid-September.

A Bright Line Watch survey found that nearly a third of Americans want to break up the United States and create smaller, like-minded countries.

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