Americans are sharply divided by race in their opinions of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, according to a new survey.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll
conducted July 18-21 found that an overwhelming majority of blacks, 86 percent, disapprove of the Florida jury’s verdict, with 87 percent saying the shooting was unjustified.
By contrast, 51 percent of whites in the survey of 1,002 adults said they approve of the verdict while just 31 percent disapprove. One-third of whites surveyed said the shooting was unjustified, one-third said it was justified, and the rest said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.
The acquittal of Zimmerman — a neighborhood-watch volunteer who shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old black teenager in Sandford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012 — has sparked protests and demonstrations and a national debate about racial profiling.
The poll found that 86 percent of blacks believe minorities do not get equal treatment under the law, while 41 percent of whites believe that's the case. Fifty-four percent of whites said minority groups are treated equally, according to the poll.
Attorney General Eric Holder last week announced a federal investigation of the Martin shooting, and the Post/ABC poll showed that eight in 10 blacks believe Zimmerman should at least be charged with violating Martin's civil rights. The poll found 27 percent of white respondents agreed with that view, while 59 percent of whites said he should not be charged.
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