The shooting incident in a St. Louis suburb is still under investigation, and just over half of Americans are not sure yet whether the police officer involved is guilty of murdering a black teenager. But most blacks have already made up their minds that the policeman should be found guilty. Blacks are also more convinced that the violent protests since the shooting occurred are mostly legitimate outrage rather than criminal activity.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 23% of all American Adults believe the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri should be found guilty of murder. Twenty-six percent (26%) think he was acting in self-defense. Fifty-one percent (51%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of black adults, however, think police officer Darren Wilson should be found guilty of murder, compared to just 17% of whites and 24% of other minority Americans. Most whites (56%) and a plurality (49%) of other minorities are undecided.
Put me in the undecided class. Anybody who reads me knows I’m no reflexive supporter of the cops, and that I consider the over-militarized, us-or-them, thin blue line mentality espoused by far too many police an abomination. So I certainly wouldn’t find it surprising if Darren Wilson had killed Michael Brown in cold blood without due cause. But right at the moment I don’t know enough to make a rational judgment.
Which leads me to something else: We really need to get the element of mystery out of the actions of our police. That means using technology to monitor them in every possible way, including the use of that technology by the citizens whom they are supposedly serving and protecting.
BTW, yes, I do understand that even such technological evidence won’t be enough for some people.