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96% of Americans say Baltimore unrest to happen again: Poll

4 May 2015 15:56


Almost all Americans believe the unrest that has recently gripped Baltimore will reoccur with regularity in the United States, according to a new national poll.

The survey, conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News and released on Sunday, found a resounding 96 percent of Americans expect similar events to take place in other parts of the United States during the upcoming summer months.

The majority-black city of Baltimore in Maryland has been the site of daily demonstrations since the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American who died of a severe neck injury on April 19, a week after he was arrested by Baltimore police.

The protests, which at times turned violent, were seen as symptomatic of broader challenges in the United States, where African Americans and other minorities are frequently subject to police brutality and racial profiling.

Violence erupted in Baltimore last week as hundreds of unknown rioters looted stores, burned buildings and injured a number of police officers following the funeral of Gray on April 27.

People walk past burning cars near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue in Baltimore on April 27, 2015.
The WSJ/MBC poll also found that the vast majority of Americans agree Baltimore’s recent problems are not local but instead speak to broader national problems.

About 60 percent of blacks said the unrest in Baltimore was the result of “long-standing frustrations about police mistreatment of African-Americans,” while 27 percent said the crisis was caused by people who used the death of Freddie Gray “as an excuse to engage in looting and violence.”

Whites had a different view of the recent unrest, with 58 percent blaming “hoodlums” for the violence and 32 percent saying police-community tensions were to blame.

On Sunday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted a curfew imposed on the city.

Instances of police brutality–captured by smartphones, dashboard cameras and CCTV– have greatly damaged the trust of Americans, especially African Americans, in law enforcement agencies in the US.

The killing of several unarmed black men by white police officers in recent months, and decisions by grand juries not to indict the officers, has triggered large-scale protests across country.

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