Just-released Gallup polling shows that, as previous polling and common sense suggests, that the real gripe black citizens have with the police is the quality of their interactions with police, not the fact that police are around and in their community. In fact, 81 percent of black citizens want the police to spend with the same amount or more time in their community.
As the Gallup article on these data concludes:
"It's not so much the volume of interactions Black Americans have with the police that troubles them or differentiates them from other racial groups, but rather the quality of those interactions.
Most Black Americans want the police to spend at least as much time in their area as they currently do, indicating that they value the need for the service that police provide. However, that exposure comes with more trepidation for Black than White or Hispanic Americans about what they might experience in a police encounter. And those harboring the least confidence that they will be treated well, or who have had negative encounters in the past, are much more likely to want the police presence curtailed.
These results correspond with Gallup's previously reported findings showing that only 22% of Black Americans favor abolishing police departments. However, the vast majority believe reform is needed, with upward of 90% favoring specific reforms aimed at improving police relations with the communities they serve and preventing or punishing abusive police behavior.
In these findings, policymakers may find a path forward that helps the police both protect communities and establish relations that make all citizens feel good about their presence."
The continued agitation to defund and/or abolish the police simply diverts political energy that could be spent more productively on broadly popular reforms and improvements in policing.