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HomePollsPolls: Americans Say Baltimore Riots Are Criminal Acts, Support Police Over Protestors

Polls: Americans Say Baltimore Riots Are Criminal Acts, Support Police Over Protestors


Over a dozen police officers from the Baltimore City Police Department, background, were injured in riots following the funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died last week from a severe spinal cord injury he suffered before or during an arrest.

In the wake of the Baltimore riots, new polls show Americans continue to support police over activists claiming rampant police brutality is a reality in the country. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds just 25 percent of American adults believe the Baltimore riots were sparked by legitimate grievances, while 63 percent said it was predominantly the criminal actions of people taking advantage of a tragic situation.

Americans in their wisdom say that the recent and destructive actions carried out shortly after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died as a result of a spinal injury suffered before or while in police custody, will only serve to worsen the criminal justice situation in Baltimore City, Maryland.

This is in line with polling PPD examined after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri last August, following the justified police shooting of a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown. While there was a significant difference between the sentiments of white and black America — or more accurately characterized, white and urban black America — just 25 percent said the mob protests were primarily legitimate outrage.

However, 52 percent saw it mostly as criminal behavior, or 11 percentage points less than those polled over Baltimore. A majority of American adults in most all demographic groups believe the mob violence in Baltimore was primarily criminal. Interestingly, women and adults under 40 are slightly more likely than men and older Americans to see it as mostly legitimate outrage.

Americans are clearly more concerned about order and property than the rights of protesters involved in the anti-police movement in Baltimore. While a sizable 43 percent are concerned that efforts by authorities to prevent violence and property destruction in situations like the one in Baltimore may violate the First Amendment rights of some protesters, 52 percent don’t share that concern. The intensity is also against the anti-police movement, as 20 percent say they are “Very Concerned” and 25 percent say they are “Not At All Concerned.”

This represents less sympathy for the situation in Baltimore than we saw in Ferguson.

There may be something to say for the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative being taken as Gospel by allegedly mainstream media outlets during a period of several months before the Department of Justice confirmed what PPD had reported — it was a lie. In fact, several prominent anchors and TV personalities refused to admit it was a lie even after the DOJ report.

Regardless, 70 percent of likely voters say the level of crime in low-income inner city communities is a bigger problem in America today than police discrimination against minorities. Further, 61 percent of all voters think the media overhypes incidents in which blacks are shot by white police officers, and a slightly higher 63 percent say this coverage is putting police officers in harms way.

There is also, unsurprisingly, a difference of opinion based upon the racial makeup of the respondents. Fifty-five percent (55 percent) of black adults view the mob violence in Baltimore as mostly legitimate outrage (again, more so among urban blacks), while 68 percent of whites and 64 percent of other minority American adults disagree.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has come under fire for her comments and lack of leadership prior and during the rioting, and Americans are equally critical of her performance and ideology. PPD broke the story Wednesday that Rawlings-Blake twice told Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday that a National Guard presence was unnecessary — or, one might even say unwanted — and that she had in fact given a stand down order to the police believing Ferguson reacted too forcefully in the wake of the violence over Micheal Brown.

A majority of Americans believe mob violence only gets worse when officials do not act decisively, while only 34 percent disagree. A significant number — 16 percent — are not sure as of yet. However, specifically regarding the performance of Mayor Rawlings-Blake, only 29 percent rate her response as good or excellent. This is even more critical than the sentiment measured toward officials’ responses in Ferguson.

So, clearly, the anti-police movement has some fundamental challenges to overcome in the court of public opinion. For the most part, Americans across the nation respect and have faith in the police and see them as a force for good.

Overall, 67 percent of American adults rate the performance of the police in their region or community as “good” or “excellent,” while just 9 percent say they are doing a “poor” job.

READ ALSO — Polling Finds Americans Side With Police Over Grievance Industry, Profiling Murky

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • The Boston Tea Party was also a “criminal act.” I wonder if the author talked this topic over with his creator…….

    • Hmm, that was based on a long running fact, while these current protests are knee jerk reactions based on fantasy generated by a TV media trying to make news rather than report it.
      Easy to see lynch mobs were a bad idea long ago…
      There sure is a need for a MLK type leader to step up and prevent these messes and instead focus on whats wrong with government and whats wrong inside the inter-city communities. I would be impressed with someone stopping the punks from ruining their own community and not spin up people into rioting.

  • Freddie had a knife on him when he was arrested. If he didn’t have that knife on him he would still be alive. The cops wouldn’t have had a reason to arrest him. I’m from Europe and I find it funny that Americans are so quick to jump to conclusions. We still don’t know how or why he died, but the fact that he had a knife on him somehow gets lost in your 24/7 media coverage?? I think you all just like racial conflict. So the media intentionally creates it.

    • the knife was discovered after he was arrested

      also FYI carrying a knife is not a crime, nor a cause for suspicion

      or do you think white people should get cuffed and slammed around until their neck breaks for looking at a cop the wrong way, and then also by the way they had a gun later so

      but then that’s the funny joke: that simply doesn’t happen to white people, ever

      • The knife was discovered before he was arrested. I think you meant to say it was discovered after they chased him.

    • We don’t car about knives over here. Or guns. You can carry both legally here in most places. Whether that is wise or not is not the issue here. It is not a reason for arresting him.

  • No shyt I support the cops!!What would happen if these Americans that come to work every day like you and me only they may not come home to there families that nite!! Think about it America.. These people put there LIVES on the line every day. So if some thing happens at your home or the street are you gonna call the thug hot line for help?? The only person in this toilet baltimore that had it together was the mom that beat the shyt out of her wannabe thug son. She should have that Mayors job!! Poor thugs, they are picking on me!!! to bad, If you had a Bible under your arm instead of a TV set they wouldn’t!! Your lucky these guys held back,cause they would have been scooping bodies up with a front end loader!!!

    • Police work is much less dangerous than many other occupations. If they can’t stand the heat they can also quit. every occupation has incompetents and criminals and people not suited. However, not all those other occupations beat and shoot people to death consequentially

      • yeh sure, I guess less dangerous than a drug dealer arrested 20 freeking times. I believe that leaves no Gray area does it ace!!

        • I suppose facts are of no interest to you but cops are way less at risk than, e.g. Cabbies and truckers. If you are sufficiently literate Ace look it up.

    • You do realize you could substitute the word “cops” with “blacks” and the paragraph would still be correct. You and I never worry about getting pulled over for walking or driving down the street. Not true for people of color.

      • Bulshit!! You mind your own freeking business, keep you nose cleen, they will leave you alone!! and NO it would not be correct unless they were black cops ace. Go peddle your bullshit on some street corner in baltimore.

        • Your are an ignorant fool. Or just old and white. There is really no difference nowadays.

          • Yeh, I am white, and old, yeh, by some peoples standards, a fool, Yeh I guess I must be responding to you!!! lol!!

          • Touche. Well Played Sir. Have a good weekend. Let’s be safe out there.

  • Well, of course they are criminal acts. Blessed by Our Fearless Leader, Obama and the dim-titted Mayor. Do you even have to ask? No, it not legal to burn down property, loot and throw chunks of concrete at police officer. This whole riotng thing is just an excuse to go wilding.

  • asians are fed upof this ghetto nonsensen as well

    • the punchline is the part where you legitimately believe anyone chose the ghetto life

      vote for me! i’ll abolish all ghettos! they’re ugly! signed, trashy americans

      • They weren’t ghettos 20 years ago

        • Really? Ghettos have only existed for 20 years. I wonder what I was walking through in the 70s and 80s? Must have been a movies set.

          • Where the blacks live are ghettos now. They weren’t then. What were ghettos then sometimes get gentrified by whites and are no longer ghettos.

            Executive summary – Blacks make ghettos. Black problems are the result of black activity. Open thine eyes friend. Big Government chickens have come home to roost.

          • You are a Dinosaur.

          • Why do all leftists resort to this in a discussion?

          • Because it pleases us and pisses you off…..lol

          • That is true. But the main reason is that you see that what I say is true but choose an unsupported position anyway; then resort to name calling.

  • Yes it was criminal acts, but libs don’t listen to the honest hardworking taxpayers, libs love criminals!

    • That makes no sense. Of course. The police are criminals and they are getting no love here. i am tired of the racism and facism that has taken over this country. Idiots apparently get to replay the Nazis in color. I suppose you like arm bands, you need one.

  • most americans (aka white people) are more focused on criminalizing blacks than scrutinizing police who don’t exploit them. this much is very obvious, and needs no article or poll to explain it.

  • Quite possibly one of the worst propaganda fear mongering pieces of so called journalistic garbage I have ever read. Our brothers and sisters of color are suffering and all we can do is lock our doors, lie to ourselves and hope it all dies down until the next time? NO – Millenials are leading the way this time and are shaming anyone who sits at home and spews such arrogant nonsense.

    What happened to empathy? Shame on the idiot who wrote this and those who agree…..shame on all of you!

    I am going to find the nearest protest and let my brothers and sisters of color know that they are not alone…

  • Of course we see the protesters as criminals…….the MAJORITY of Americans stop when the police tell you to stop, don’t have criminal backgrounds, and don’t behave like animals!

  • Is this the crap bigots circle jerk to?

  • Sheriff Clarke: ‘90% of the Homicide Victims’ in Baltimore ‘Are Black as Are
    90% of the Suspects’ — ‘Bigger Problem Than Freddie Gray’


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