Survey Says: Whites, Asians Trust Seattle Cops; African Americans, Latinos: Not So Much
According to a new survey presented at yesterday's city council public safety committee hearing, a majority of Seattle residents—60 percent—believe the Seattle Police Department is doing an "excellent" or "good" job. (Thirty-four percent said they weren't doing a good job). Meanwhile, 74 percent agreed that SPD "keeps people safe."
However, only 35 percent of Seattle residents contacted in the phone survey thought that the police "treat people of all races and groups equally," particularly African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, homeless people, and young people.
Additionally, Latinos and African Americans themselves were more likely than white residents or Asian Americans to say they'd had negative interactions with Seattle police, including racial discrimination, excessive force, and verbal abuse. (Sixty-seven percent of Asian Americans and 60 percent who identified as white said they approved of the job SPD is doing, compared to 54 percent of Latinos and just 49 percent of African Americans).
Black people were also more likely to get pulled over, with 38 percent of African Americans saying they'd been pulled over for traffic violations in the last year, compared to 23 percent of Seattle residents in general (and 13 percent of whites). Latinos and African Americans reported a higher level of negative interactions when they were stopped by police, with 44 percent of African Americans and 42 percent of Latinos saying they disapproved of how the officer handles the situation, compared to 77 percent of whites.
Also, no surprise: The report concluded that Latinos and African Americans also had "more negative experiences than whites when being stopped by the police."
"It will be hard for SPD to improve community relations with Latinos and African-Americans if these levels of negative officer-citizen interactions persist," the survey report concludes.
Read the whole survey, including specific questions and responses, here