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Poll Reveals Plummeting Support for 'Peaceful Protests' Across the Board

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As the decision in Kentucky to bring charges against one of three police officers involved in a raid that killed Breonna Taylor sparks renewed unrest nationwide, a new survey finds support has fallen for anti-police protests and riots.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 44 percent of Americans disapprove of the protests, while 39 percent approve. In June, 54 percent approved.

The new survey of 1,108 adults was conducted Sept. 11-14 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

Overnight, protesters and rioters in cities from New York to Las Vegas took to the streets.

Two officers were wounded by gunfire at riots in Louisville, where authorities made close to 100 arrests on charges of damaging businesses, refusing to disperse after curfew and unlawful assembly.

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The poll finds the percentage of Americans who believe police violence unequally targets black Americans and that greater consequences for police violence are necessary have also fallen from June.

Thirty-five percent of white Americans approve of the protests now, while 50 percent disapprove. In June, 53 percent approved, while 34 percent disapproved.

Among Latinos, 31 percent approve, compared with 44 percent in June; 63 percent of black Americans support the protests, down from 81 percent.

“I was supportive back in June, but after seeing everything up until now, I’m almost dead against them,” said Dave Hipelious, 63, of New Lenox, Illinois, a retired pipe fitter in the energy industry.

Are you surprised that support for the protests has declined?

Hipelious said his support for the protests soured when he saw violent rioting, arson and looting following the death of George Floyd.

“I was a pretty wild young man,” Hipelious said. “Every time the police stopped me, and every issue I had with them, I was completely in the wrong. I do believe they are doing their job right.”

Eighty-four percent of black Americans, but just 42 percent of white Americans and 50 percent of Latinos, say police more often use deadly force against a black person than a white person.

While 74 percent of black Americans say the criminal justice system is too lenient when officers cause injury or death, 47 percent of white Americans and 50 percent of Latinos say the same.

Among Republicans, 75 percent say they disapprove of the protests, up from 56 percent in June. Just 9 percent approve, down from 29 percent then.

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And more Republicans now describe protests as mostly or all violent, 52 percent vs. 36 percent.

Among Democrats, 70 percent approve, and close to half describe them as mostly or all peaceful. Still, roughly as many describe them as a mix of both.

BriAndia Andrews, 21, of Bloomington, Illinois, said she believes most of the protests have been done “correctly.”

Still, she feels “our voices are not going to be heard once you have people looting and stuff like that.”

Overall, Americans are less likely than they were in June to say deadly force is more commonly used against a black person than a white person, 50 percent vs. 61 percent.

And fewer now say that officers who cause injury or death on the job are treated too leniently by the justice system, 52 percent vs. 65 percent.

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