While Black respondents strongly support numerous police reforms, the support of white respondents is much weaker, particularly on changes that address the use of force and the role of police in a community. Latino Southerners are more supportive of reforms than white Southerners are, but not as supportive as Black respondents are.
There’s a wide racial gap on the question of who is responsible for the deaths of Black men and women in police custody. A plurality of white respondents (39%) believe it is the behavior of individuals in police custody themselves most responsible. A plurality of both Black and Latino respondents said a “racist police system” is most responsible (42% of Black and 31% of Latino respondents), though Latino respondents’ views were mixed.
Still, racial divides exist on whether reforms will go too far or not far enough. White respondents are concerned that lawmakers will go too far with police reform (48% “too far” and 34% “not far enough”), and Black residents are concerned that lawmakers will not go far enough (65% “not far enough”). A large plurality of Latino respondents say reforms will not go far enough (48%) versus going too far (31%).
White respondents opposed “re-imagining policing, so police officers only deal with violent crime and robbery while assigning non-violent situations to mental health professionals and other experts” in equal numbers as they approved of the concept. Meanwhile, 74% of Black respondents and 62% of Latino respondents approve of the concept of “re-imagining policing.”
GBAO Strategies of Washington, D.C. conducted the survey on landlines, cellphones, and an online panel from October 7-12, 2020. Latino respondents were given the option of taking the survey in English or Spanish. The margin of error for each racial group is +/- 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.