Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Amid Protests, Majorities Across Racial and Ethnic Groups Express Support for the Black Lives Matter Movement

June 12, 2020

As demonstrations continue across the country to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed while inMinneapolis police custody, Americans see the protests both as a reaction to Floyd's death and an expression offrustration over longstanding issues. Most adults say tensions between black people and police and concerns aboutthe treatment of black people in the U.S. – in addition to anger over Floyd's death – have contributed a great dealto the protests, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About six-in-ten U.S. adults say some people taking advantage of the situation to engage in criminal behavior has also been a major contributing factor in the protests. There are wide partisan gaps in these views. 

Perceptions of Policing

Deep Racial, Partisan Divisions in Americans' Views of Police Officers

September 15, 2017

While a large majority of Americans rate police officers positively on a 0-to-100 "feeling thermometer," whites and blacks differ widely in their views, including among Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August.

Perceptions of Policing

Behind the Badge: Amid Protests and Calls for Reform, How Police View Their Jobs, Key Issues and Recent Fatal Encounters Between Blacks and Police

January 1, 2017

Police work has always been hard. Today police say it is even harder. In a new Pew Research Center national surveyconducted by the National Police Research Platform, majorities of police officers say that recent high-profile fatalencounters between black citizens and police officers have made their jobs riskier, aggravated tensions between policeand blacks, and left many officers reluctant to fully carry out some of their duties.The wide-ranging survey, one of the largest ever conducted with a nationally representative sample of police, draws on the attitudes and experiences of nearly 8,000 policemen and women from departments with at least 100 officers.1 It comes at a crisis point in America's relationship with the men and women who enforce its laws, precipitated by a series of deaths of black Americans during encounters with the police that have energized a vigorous national debate over police conduct and methods.

Perceptions of Policing

Stark Racial Divisions in Reactions to Ferguson Police Shooting

August 17, 2014

Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown "raises important issues about race that need to be discussed." Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown's death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 14-17 among 1,000 adults, finds that the public overall is divided over whether Brown's shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves: 44% think the case does raise important issues about race that require discussion, while 40% say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion. By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

Perceptions of Policing; Racial Bias & Profiling

Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement

May 7, 2013

This report presents findings from a survey of Latinos regarding their perceptions of law enforcement authorities in light of the greater involvement of police in immigration enforcement. Lake Research Partners designed and administered a randomized telephone survey of 2,004 Latinos living in the counties of Cook (Chicago), Harris (Houston), Los Angeles, and Maricopa (Phoenix).The survey was designed to assess the impact of police involvement in immigration enforcement on Latinos' perceptions of public safety and their willingness to contact the police when crimes have been committed. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish by professional interviewers during the period November 17 to December 10, 2012.Survey results indicate that the increased involvement of police in immigration enforcement has significantly heightened the fears many Latinos have of the police, contributing to their social isolation and exacerbating their mistrust of law enforcement authorities.These findings reveal one of the unintended consequences of the involvement of state and local police in immigration enforcement -- a reduction in public safety as Latinos' mistrust of the police increases as a result of the involvement of police in immigration enforcement.

Perceptions of Policing

Transgressive Policing: Police Abuse of LGBTQ Communities of Color in Jackson Heights, Queens

October 1, 2012

After hearing numerous complaints of police abuse and misconduct against LGBTQ people in Jackson Heights, Queens, Make the Road New York (with help from the Anti-Violence Project) surveyed over 300 Queens residents about their experiences with police in the neighborhood. The survey findings and individual testimonies reveal a disturbing and systemic pattern of police harassment, violence, and intimidation directed at LGBTQ community members. The discriminatory use of "stop and frisks" in the policing of communities of color has been well documented -- the 110th and 115th precincts that are responsible for policing Jackson Heights had 90%-93% rates of stop and frisk activity towards people of color in 2011. Our survey reveals, however, that within this community LGBTQ people of color are particularly targeted.

Racial Bias & Profiling; Stop & Frisk; Use of Force

Hispanics and the Criminal Justice System: Low Confidence, High Exposure

April 7, 2009

Analyzes results of a survey of Latinos/Hispanics on their exposure to the U.S. criminal justice system and their confidence in the effectiveness and fairness of the police and the courts. Compares data by age and nativity and with those of other groups.

Perceptions of Policing; Racial Bias & Profiling