Deep Racial Divide: Black, Latino and White Cops View Racial Equality, Police Brutality

Deep Racial Divide: Black, Latino and White Cops View Racial Equality, Police Brutality

Overview

By
Tanasia Kenney

Protesters and police officers seemingly have one thing in common, according to a new survey: Both agree that bad cops aren’t held accountable by the police force for poor performance.

A recently released Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform revealed that 72 percent of officers disagreed with the statement that bad cops are held accountable for their poor performance. Just 24 percent of respondents agreed that officers who underperform are held responsible, according to the poll.

The survey, which was conducted in 2016 and involved almost 8,000 police officers from departments across the country, offered a wide collection of data points on police attitudes about their jobs and the communities they work in. One glaring hallmark of the study is the deep racial divide police officers have on issues of Black equality.

The study showed that an extremely high concentration of white officers believe that the country has achieved racial equity. According to the study “virtually all white officers (92%), but only 29% of their black colleagues, say that the country has made the changes needed to assure equal rights for blacks.” The views of white officers not only differ from their Black co-workers, but they also are at odds with the greater white population, where only 43 percent of all white adults said no more changes are needed, as measured in the center’s survey of the general public.

Statistics also show that 53 percent of Black officers believed their white counterparts are treated much better in their departments/agencies when it comes to assignments and promotions. These views point to a long-held belief that the job experience for Black officers differs even when they try to fit in.

The Pew study also showed a continued racial chasm in the views of police officers over the protest movement that has swept the country over the past three years. Sixty-nine percent of Black officers believed that protesters were in part motivated by the desire to hold police officers responsible for their actions, while a mere 27 percent of white officers agreed that that was the purpose of the protests.