State Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, who heard the case in a bench trial, issued a 30-page order Friday morning, acquitting Stockley on the murder charge as well as a charge of armed criminal action. That ruling sparked protests that began shortly afterward and lasted through the night.
Although outrage online and in person over the ruling is coming from liberal Americans of different ethnic backgrounds, new data released Friday from the Pew Research Center showed just how differently Democrats of different races view police.
The relationship between law enforcement and minority communities has been a high-profile issue for the past several years. But when lacking nuance, the conversation seems to suggest that all liberals have unfavorable views of police, while conservatives look approvingly at law enforcement.
The Pew data shows that the overwhelming majority — 71 percent — of white Democrats view police very warmly or somewhat warmly — just two points lower than the 73 percentage rate for white Americans in general. For perspective, 87 percent of white Republicans have very warm or somewhat warm views of police.
Black Democrats are much less likely to have warm views of police. Only 32 percent of black liberals view police very warmly or somewhat warmly. However, the general population of black Americans has an even lower view of police than black Democrats — only 30 percent of black Americans view police somewhat warmly or very warmly. Overall, 38 percent of black Americans have a very cold or somewhat cold view of police.
However, the idea that most black liberals view police negatively is not supported by the data. A plurality of black Democrats — 36 percent — actually have neutral feelings about law enforcement. Only 27 percent of black Democrats have a very cold or somewhat cold view of law enforcement.
Another interesting piece of data involves Latino Democrats, a group that is often left out of the conversation about the relationship between police and communities of color.
Latino Democrats mainly have warm feelings about police. More than half — 52 percent — have very warm or somewhat warm views on police. But that number goes up a bit — 55 percent — when you include the larger group of Latinos.
This is notable, because among minorities, the rate of police killings for Latinos is second to those of African Americans, according to the U.S. Census. Latinos and black Americans have interactions with law enforcement at rates proportional to their population, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Although President Trump, who spoke out frequently in support of police officers during the campaign, has claimed that law enforcement doesn't often get the respect it deserves, most Americans have generally favorable views of police.
Nearly two-thirds — 64 percent — of Americans have somewhat warm or very warm feelings about police officers.