POLITICS
11/25/2014 11:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Americans Remain Deeply Divided Over Ferguson Shooting, Poll Finds

Americans are still deeply divided over the shooting of teenager Michael Brown this summer by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll taken before a grand jury decision not to indict Wilson was released Monday night.

While 28 percent said Wilson was at fault and should be punished, 23 percent said he was fully justified in the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old, and another 30 percent said both Wilson and Brown made mistakes and it was "just a tragic accident." Another 20 percent were undecided.

Twenty-two percent had expected Wilson to be punished too harshly, while 26 percent believed he'd get off too lightly. Eighteen percent expected him to receive about the right punishment, and the remaining 34 percent were undecided.

A separate CNN poll, also conducted before the grand jury announcement, found that most wanted Wilson charged with a crime: 32 percent of Americans thought Wilson should be charged with murder, 25 percent that he should be charged with a lesser crime, and 31 percent that he should not be charged at all.

Opinions on the Ferguson incident have always been divided starkly along racial and political lines. In the latest round of HuffPost/YouGov polling, 64 percent of black Americans said Wilson was at fault, compared with just 22 percent of whites. White respondents were more than seven times as likely as blacks to say that the shooting was justified. A majority of black Americans said Wilson would be punished too leniently, with just 2 percent worrying his punishment would be too harsh.

Democrats were also three times more likely than Republicans to say Wilson was at fault, and to fear that he would be punished too leniently.

Perhaps the biggest divide, however, was on whether the shooting represented an isolated incident or part of a broader pattern in how black men are treated by the police. While Americans overall were split, 74 percent of black Americans and 57 percent of Democrats, compared with 31 percent of whites and 18 percent of Republicans, saw the shooting as part of a larger pattern.

Regardless of race or party, few Americans approved of local politicians' response to the shooting or its aftermath. Just 17 percent, including 17 percent of whites and 13 percent of blacks, said Missouri politicians' response had been adequate. The vast majority also expected some level of unrest, with 73 percent saying they believed there would be violent protests if an indictment were not returned.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 14-17 among 1,000 U.S. adults 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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11/30/2014 3:28 PM EST

Wilson Resigned Over Safety Concerns, Lawyer Says

Reuters reports:

he white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, resigned from the force without any severance deal, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.

The officer, Darren Wilson, announced his resignation late Saturday, saying he feared for his own safety and that of his fellow police officers after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Read more here.

11/30/2014 7:27 AM EST

10 People Arrested During Portland's Ferguson Protest

PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — Authorities say 10 people have been arrested in Portland during a protest related to the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting.

The city police bureau says the arrests came Saturday night "after a large group of protesters laid down in the street and refused lawful orders to clear the roadway."

Earlier, the gathering over the Missouri shooting death of a black man by a white police officer included a speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The Oregonian reports that Jackson urged nonviolence and said the resignation of the officer was "a step in the right direction," but that much remained to be done to achieve justice for the victim.

Police say that after Jackson left, some protesters marched around downtown and sporadically disrupted traffic.

Officials say some bottles were thrown at officers and a police car was damaged.

The nine adults and one juvenile arrested will face charges that include disorderly conduct.

11/29/2014 10:15 PM EST

Flag Burning

11/29/2014 10:01 PM EST

Large Police Presence

11/29/2014 9:42 PM EST

Saturday Night Protest In Ferguson

11/29/2014 9:26 PM EST

Armed 'Oath Keepers' Plan To Protest

The NYT reports that armed members of the group "Oath Keepers" are in Ferguson to offer their help protecting businesses from damage.

From the NYT:

The volunteers, who are sometimes described as a citizen militia — but do not describe themselves that way — have taken up armed positions on rooftops here on recent nights....

But on Saturday, with the county police said to be threatening the Oath Keepers with arrest, the volunteers decided to abandon their posts and instead protest against the authorities. Late in the day on Saturday, a protest was being planned for that night.

Read more here.

11/29/2014 6:56 PM EST

Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Department

Darren Wilson has resigned from Ferguson police department.

Read his resignation letter below, via St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process."

11/27/2014 12:55 PM EST

Murals In Ferguson

11/27/2014 11:28 AM EST

Ferguson Protests Hit Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Unrest following the Ferguson grand jury's decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson has hit the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Using #StopTheParade as a rallying cry, protesters attempted to disrupt the annual parade in New York City. According to Mashable, police arrested some of the demonstrators just as the parade kicked off.

--Mollie Reilly

11/27/2014 11:19 AM EST

Ferguson Library Stays Open Throughout The Protests

MSNBC's Steve Kornacki reports on Ferguson's public library, which has remained open throughout the protests.

Over 50 volunteers helped staff the library, which provided free lunches to children as schools remained closed. The library also offered help to businesses who suffered damage during the protests following the grand jury's decision.

"We have a dramatic setting right now but it is not different than what libraries do every day," library director Scott Bonner said.

Watch the segment here.

--Mollie Reilly

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