68% of Black Americans Say Police Treatment Has Gotten Worse, as George Floyd Death Anniversary Nears

As the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death nears, a majority of Black Americans say police treatment and violence against Black and Brown youths has increased in the past year.

According to a new Axios-Ipsos poll released Saturday, 68 percent of Black people said that police treatment has gotten worse in the past year, while only 6 percent said it has improved.

Similarly, 72 percent of Black people said they believe police shootings against Black and Brown youths have gotten worse. That view was shared by nearly 50 percent of Hispanic Americans, and comes after the recent police killings of 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant and 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

The survey found that police distrust is so severe among people of color that 55 percent of Black people and 40 percent of Hispanics said calling police does more harm than good in a time of need.

Black and Hispanic people also reported experiencing more threatening encounters than white or Asian people when pulled over by police. Fourteen percent of Black respondents and 9 percent of Hispanic respondents said a police officer has taken a gun or Taser out of its holster during a stop, while only 4 percent of white people and 2 percent of Asian respondents said the same.

In total, 57 percent of Black respondents said they have unfavorable views of police, and 44 percent said they feel anxiety when they see a police car with lights on in their neighborhood. By comparison, 75 percent of white Americans said they have view police favorably.

The poll was conducted between April 28 and May 4 using a sample of 1,875 general population adults age 18 or older. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

George Floyd
Flowers, signs and balloons are left near a makeshift memorial to George Floyd near the spot where he died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images

The survey comes just days before the anniversary of Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, when police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, kneeled on Floyd's neck and cut off his breathing for more than nine minutes while horrified bystanders recorded the incident. Chauvin, 45, was convicted of murder and manslaughter last month and is awaiting sentencing.

The footage of Floyd's death ignited months of racial justice protests across the nation, with millions taking to the streets to demand reform. Many protesters called on local governments to defund their police department by reinvesting in other community services as a way to address police violence against people of color.

So far, police have killed 383 people in 2021, and Black Americans are three times more likely to be killed than their white counterparts, according to data from Mapping Police Violence.

President Joe Biden has challenged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act – which would ban chokeholds, seek to end qualified immunity for officers, and create national standards for policing – by the first anniversary of Floyd's death. However, members of Congress are still in key negotiations and will likely not meet that deadline.

"The most important thing is that we have a bill that hits the president's desk, not the date that it does," Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the lead author of the House-passed plan said earlier this week, CNBC reported.