ATLANTA (AP) – A new study suggests that many police officers are backing off of policing for fear that their actions will be questioned later.
Three-quarters of officers surveyed by the Pew Research Center say they’re hesitant to use force, even when appropriate, and are less willing to stop and question suspicious-looking people.
The nonpartisan Pew Research Center questioned at least 8,000 officers from departments with at least 100 officers between May 19 and Aug. 14 of last year. And most of those interviews were conducted before the fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge.
The survey also finds a stark difference in how white and black officers view protests that have followed some high-profile shootings of black suspects. Most black officers see the protests as genuine acts of civil disobedience designed to hold police accountable. Most white officers are more skeptical of protesters’ motives.