08/14/2014 05:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Nearly Half Of Americans Don't Believe Cops Who Kill People Will Be Brought To Justice


Nearly half of Americans don't trust that justice will be served after police officers kill civilians, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted days after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Forty-five percent of Americans say they don't trust the justice system to investigate police shootings properly, while 37 percent do. The remaining 19 percent are undecided. Separately, 43 percent said the police use lethal force too frequently, while 32 percent said they do not.

Responses were divided starkly along partisan and racial lines. Democrats were nearly three times more likely than Republicans to think lethal force is used too frequently and to distrust the justice system. Sixty-nine percent of black Americans think the police use lethal force too frequently, compared with just 37 percent of white Americans, and two thirds of blacks don't trust the justice system to investigate police killings, compared with 40 percent of whites.

Minorities' greater distrust of the police far predates the current news cycle. A 2013 Gallup poll found that whites were 12 points more likely than nonwhites to have confidence in the police; in 2006, the gap was 20 points.

Studies have found that African Americans are more likely to get stopped by police while driving, and far more likely to be arrested for smoking marijuana. One in three black men will go to prison in their lifetimes.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Aug. 11-14 among 1,000 U.S. adults, including 116 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.