In June, a Gallup poll found that about half of Americans surveyed expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police, a 22-year low. Meanwhile, a separate poll found the percentage of black Americans who see race as the nation’s most urgent problem increased from 3 percent at the beginning of 2014 to 15 percent after Ferguson.
“The American public has accepted that this is a real problem. They’ve seen Eric Garner, then Michael Brown, then Walter Scott, then Sandra Bland,” said Al Sharpton, the New York-based activist who for decades has been among the nation’s most prominent proponents of policing reform.
“We’ve seen a shift because, with story after story, the public says, ‘Wait a minute. They can’t be making all of this up.’ ”