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Black Americans Much Less Likely Than Whites To Trust That Police Won't Use Excessive Force

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Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to express distrust in their local police departments, especially when it comes to use of excessive force, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. But both blacks and whites tend to have a generally favorable view of police in their communities.

According to the survey, 24 percent of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence that police in their communities won't use excessive force on suspects, while another 31 percent said they have a fair amount of confidence. Seventeen percent said they have just some confidence, 13 percent said they had very little and 8 percent said they had none at all.

But while a combined 60 percent of white respondents said they had a great deal or fair amount of confidence that police won't use excessive force, only 44 percent of black respondents said the same. Meanwhile, 51 percent of black respondents said they had "just some" confidence or even less.

In an earlier HuffPost/YouGov poll, black respondents were much more likely than white respondents to say that police use lethal force too frequently, and far less likely to trust that police shootings will be properly investigated.

But according to the latest HuffPost/YouGov poll, 62 percent of black respondents and 69 percent of white respondents said they have a favorable opinion of police officers in their communities.

And in general, both white and black respondents said they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that police officers do the right thing most or all of the time, though white respondents (68 percent) were somewhat more likely to say so than black respondents (59 percent). Forty percent of black respondents, but just 30 percent of white respondents, said they had "just some" confidence or less that police usually do the right thing.

On the other hand, black respondents (26 percent) were only slightly more likely than white respondents (23 percent) to say that they believed they personally had been targeted or treated unfairly by police, a statistically insignificant difference.

The limitations of the new survey may gloss over the extent of the problem, however. A 2006 Kaiser survey that included larger samples of black men and women found that black men were likelier than either black women or the population as a whole to report worries about interactions with police.

In that survey, 22 percent of black men, but only 13 percent of black women and 6 percent of respondents overall were "very worried" about being arrested. Similarly, 37 percent of black men and 25 percent of black women, but 11 percent of respondents overall, said they were very worried about being treated unfairly by police.

In the new HuffPost/YouGov poll, the sample size of 117 African-Americans is too small to measure differences between men and women.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Aug. 16-17 among 1,000 U.S. adults, including 117 black respondents, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.

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USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:

Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.

In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.

"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."

Read the rest at USA Today.

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New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.

CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.

Read the rest here.

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USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father

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08/25/2014 11:57 AM EDT
Program For The Funeral
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Noteworthy Funeral Attendees
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Waiting For Brown's Family
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Police Captain Ron Johnson Arrives
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08/25/2014 10:45 AM EDT
Mo. Sen. To Attend Funeral
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08/25/2014 10:37 AM EDT
Casket In Place

MSNBC reports:

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08/25/2014 10:35 AM EDT
Funeral Security
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Brown's Father Asks For Peace
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MSNBC reports:

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08/25/2014 10:26 AM EDT
Hands Up
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08/25/2014 10:22 AM EDT
Sanctuary Filling Fast For Funeral

CNN reports:

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Missouri congressman Lacy Clay (D) said on Thursday that he had "serious concerns" about the prosecutor in charge of Michael Brown's case.

"I also have serious concerns about the local prosecutors, about their ability to fairly prosecute this case in the interests of justice. To deliver justice to this community, or to Michael Brown's family. And I say that because we have a track record," Clay told CNN.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has come under heavy scrutiny in the days following Brown's death. Critics say that McCulloch's ties to law enforcement will cloud his judgement and have called on Governor Jay Nixon (D) to appoint a special prosecutor instead. A petition against him has received over 70,000 signatures.

McCulloch's father was a police officer killed in the line of duty.

For his part, McCulloch has promised that his investigation will be fair and thorough. In a statement, he said:

I have no intention of walking away from the responsibilities and duties entrusted to me by the people of this community. Additionally, there is no basis in the law to do so. I have faithfully and fairly carried out those responsibilities and duties for more than two decades and will continue to do so for at least the next four years.

Nixon has also repeatedly insisted that he won't take McCulloch off the case.

Alana Horowitz

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From HuffPost's Dave Jamieson:

Like the rest of the St. Louis community, including their own teachers, Gateway students had emotional discussions about being black in America, about mistrust of the police, about peaceful demonstration and violent protest. They were asked to write down what they were feeling about Ferguson, with the assurance that no sentiments were out of bounds.

Click here to read excerpts from the responses penned by a group of 7th and 8th graders at the school.

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Washington Post reports that Darren Wilson was injured following a scuffle with Michael Brown before he shot and killed him.

A family friend told WaPo that Wilson's eye bone was fractured. Fox News reported similar information earlier this week, citing a police source.

Another source told CNN that these reports are false.

Last week, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that Wilson was taken to the hospital following the incident, but did not say for what.

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HuffPost's Arthur Delaney reports:

When Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday, he assured local residents the U.S. Justice Department will swiftly investigate the police killing of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9.

In meetings with locals, Holder emphasized how his own past experiences will inform his work overseeing the Justice Department's investigation of Michael Brown's killing. He told students at a community college there that police searched his car when he'd been stopped for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike.

"I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me," Holder said. "The same kid who got stopped on the New Jersey freeway is now the attorney general of the United States."

But Holder's critics point out that this is the same man who was woefully soft on bad cops when he served as Washington, D.C.'s top prosecutor in the mid-1990s.

"Relying on Holder to take action is like sending a guy with a cup of water to put out a wildfire," said Gregory Lattimer, an attorney who has represented family members of people killed by D.C. police, including DeOnte Rawlings, a 14-year-old boy shot in the back of the head by an off-duty officer in 1997.

"[Holder] was part of the problem in D.C., not the solution," Lattimer said. "He says all the right things and then he goes out and defends the status quo."

Read more here.

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