Do Cops Treat Blacks And Whites Equally?

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 29 2014 @ 1:01pm

There is a massive racial split on that question:

Only about two in 10 blacks say that police treat whites and blacks equally, compared to about six in 10 whites. Among white Republicans, the fraction is more than eight in 10. The poll revealed similar disparities in opinion on the use of force by police, relations between law enforcement and communities, and whether the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. were isolated cases.

Relatedly, Michelle Conlin recently spoke with African-American NYPD officers to get their perspective:

Reuters interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving. All but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.

The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.

Drum comments on the story:

Thought #1: Police officers have an intrinsically tough and violent job. Split-second decisions about the use of force come with the territory. Ditto for decisions about who to stop and who to keep an eye on. This makes individual mistakes inevitable, but as a group, police officers deserve our support and respect regardless.

Thought #2: That support shouldn’t be blind. Conlin reports that in her group of 25 black police officers, 24 said they had received rough treatment from other cops.