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“Ferguson Effect” Is real According To New Survey Of Police

01/11/2017 at 6:54 | Posted by John Shaffer
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17:  Police advance through a cloud of tear gas toward demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police shot smoke and tear gas into the crowd of several hundred as they advanced near the police command center which has been set up in a shopping mall parking lot. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his death.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A new study suggests that many police officers are backing off of policing for fear that their actions will be questioned later.  Three-quarters of officers surveyed by the Pew Research Center say they’re hesitant to use force, even when appropriate, and are less willing to stop and question suspicious-looking people.  The nonpartisan Pew Research Center questioned at least 8,000 officers from departments with at least 100 officers between May 19 and Aug. 14 of last year. And most of those interviews were conducted before the fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge.  The survey also finds a stark difference in how white and black officers view protests that have followed some high-profile shootings of black suspects. Most black officers see the protests as genuine acts of civil disobedience designed to hold police accountable. Most white officers are more skeptical of protesters’ motives.

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