Americans generally agree that police departments collectively fail to treat racial and ethnic groups equally, according to a new Pew poll, taken in the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
The poll found 32 percent of Americans said police across the country do an excellent or good job of treating people from different racial and ethnic groups equally. In contrast, 65 percent said that the police did an only fair or poor job.
A majority of whites found police departments lacking, though not to the same degree that blacks did: 58 percent of whites said that police performed only fair or poor on racial equality, while 91 percent of blacks said the same.
While they were skeptical of U.S. police collectively, Americans were more confident in their own local police department. Pew found 62 percent had a good deal or fair amount of confidence in their local police to treat races fairly, while 35 percent had just some confidence or very little.
On the question of their local police, the divide between whites and blacks was more striking: 71 percent of whites had a good deal or fair amount of confidence in the local authorities, while only 36 percent of blacks felt the same way.
The Pew poll, conducted Aug. 20 to 24, surveyed 1,501 U.S. adults. Its overall margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.