A new poll shows a majority of American young adults, including White youth, support the call for more accountability for police in the deaths of African Americans.
Support for the Black Lives Matter movement has increased among young White adults, according to a GenForward poll. The survey of adults age 18 to 30 is conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll is encouraging news because it suggests a majority of White, Black, Asian and Hispanic young adults now support the call for more police accountability.
Sean Bradley, 26, of Clearwater, Fla., said watching several encounters between police and Black suspects online helped cement his support for Black Lives Matter, reported The Associated Press. As a White male, he said, he had run-ins with the police and witnessed officers trying to cover for what he considered illegal conduct by other officers.
“The fact is that the police target Blacks and they discriminate against Blacks,” Bradley said. “Because of how they’ve treated Blacks over the years, of course they [Blacks] don’t trust them [police] and I know for a fact that some of the things the police do are illegal. I would be upset as well.”
The Black Lives Matter movement and other protesters have helped increase social awareness of police shootings. Protesters, especially young people of all ethnic backgrounds, have taken to the streets demanding accountability for cops and justice for their victims.
The new movement emerged in 2012 after Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager. The movement continued to grow following the deaths of other Black men at the hands of police in New York, North Charleston, S.C., Baltimore and elsewhere.
When asked specifically about recent killings of African Americans by the police, 72 percent of African-American young people, 61 percent of Asian-Americans, 51 percent of Latinos and 40 percent of whites said they consider those killings part of a larger pattern, rather than isolated.
The largely youth-based movement has been harshly criticized by conservatives as being anti-police and encouraging violence against police. However the poll shows there is a growing consensus among young people that police violence against civilians is intolerable and must be changed.