Public support for the Black Lives Matter protests around the country — which in many areas have often devolved into riots — has plummeted in recent weeks.
An Associated Press-NORC poll released Wednesday shows support for the demonstrations that began in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in May has declined sharply in recent months, from 54% in June to just 39% in September.
The survey, which polled 1,108 adults over the phone and online, was conducted between Sept. 11-14 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.
Forty-four percent of respondents disapprove of the protests.
Support among black Americans has dropped by 18 points from 81% expressing support in June to 63% in September. In addition, support among white Americans has gone from 53% to 34%.
Analysts also found more Americans now deem police violence an “extremely” or “very” serious issue. In June, 48% of respondents said such incidents were “extremely” or “very” serious. Forty-four percent said the same in September.
News of the recent survey comes amid protests and rioting in Louisville, Kentucky, and other cities across the U.S. following a grand jury decision regarding the police officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor.
Law enforcement officers killed Taylor during a raid on her apartment, where they were conducting a search warrant. Upon entering the residence, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a gunshot, striking one of the officers in the leg. At that point, the officers returned fire, hitting Taylor eight times.
Grand jury charges were announced this week against former police officer Brett Hankison, charged with endangering nearby neighbors by opening fire without a clear aim. The other two officers, Det. Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. John Mattingly, used their weapons justifiably after facing gunfire, the grand jury decided.
Taylor’s family called the grand jury ruling “offensive.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said: “I understand that as a black man, how painful this is … which is why it was so incredibly important to make sure that we did everything we possibly could to uncover every fact.”
“My heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor,” he continued. “And I’ve said that repeatedly. My mother, if something was to happen to me … would find it very hard. … I’ve seen that pain on Miss [Tamika] Palmer’s face,” referring to Taylor’s mother. “I’ve seen that pain in the community,” Cameron added.
The attorney general explained that, under current law, the officers actions were justifiably legal. There is “no justice,” Cameron said, “if we simply act on emotion or outrage.”
Cameron also clarified months of misreporting regarding the incident. Media outlets have repeatedly reported the officers were serving a so-called “no-knock” warrant. However, that was apparently not the case. A witness told investigators the officers did knock and identify themselves prior to entering the apartment. Walker, however, said he fired the first shot because he did not hear the police announce themselves.
Following the grand jury decision, protests and riots broke out in Louisville, resulting in damage as well as the non-fatal shootings of two police officers.
Speaking Friday, progressive activist and Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory compared Cameron to African men who helped sell other Africans into slavery.
“Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout negroes that sold our people into slavery and helped white men to capture our people to abuse them and to traffic them while our women were raped, while our men were raped by savages,” she said to a crowd of supporters. “That is who you are, Daniel Cameron. You are a coward. You are a sellout. And you are used by the system to harm your own mama, your own black mama. We have no respect for you, no respect for your black sin, because all of our skinfolk ain’t our kinfolk, and you do not belong to black people at all.”