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Crime and police viewed differently by black and white Americans

Some Kentucky residents may have differing views on crime, police behavior and penalties depending on whether they are black or white. A number of surveys have found these attitudes differ according to race. For example, 87% of black adults compared to 61% of white adults in a 2019 Pew Research Center survey said the criminal justice system did not treat blacks as fairly as whites.

Black survey respondents also expressed more concern about violent crime, including gun crime. In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, only 47% of white respondents thought gun crime was a serious problem compared to 82% of black respondents. The same survey found that 75% of black respondents and 46% of white respondents believed violent crime was a serious problem. In an earlier survey, black respondents were more concerned about crime in their local community than whites were.

Despite these worries, blacks tend to disapprove of police performance more than whites do, and they are also less likely to support capital punishment. One survey asked for rankings of feelings toward on a scale of zero to 100, with zero as the lowest rating. The mean rating given by whites was 72 while for blacks, it was 47. In addition to being more likely than whites to disagree with capital punishment, fewer blacks said there was a moral justification for it.

People who are charged with a crime may want to discuss their options with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may approach the case in a number of different ways depending on the evidence, any prior convictions the person has and how the officers behaved when the person was taken into custody among other factors. For example, if the evidence is strong and the person has prior convictions, the attorney might advise a plea bargain, which could result in a lighter penalty.

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