Survey: 4 in 10 say police accountability better than in 2020

(NewsNation) — Less than half of Americans believe police accountability has improved since the 2020 summer protests over the death of George Floyd, according to a new survey.

In the research from Zencity, 41% of all respondents thought police who engaged in misconduct are being held accountable more often than before 2020, with strong differences by age. Those younger than 35 were fairly split on improvements (35% say worse and 32% say better), while those older than 55 were overwhelmingly optimistic (46% better vs. 6% worse).

The survey was conducted Jan. 29-31 and collected responses from 2,267 results.

It also asked about the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after he was beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, during an arrest. Five officers have been charged with murder, and two others have been disciplined.

Police released body camera and surveillance video of the altercation, which showed police punching, kicking and hitting Nichols with a baton repeatedly as they tried to arrest him. Several of the blows came after he was handcuffed.

Nearly half of the Zencity survey respondents though Nichols’ death would lead to positive change, with Black (58% confident) and Hispanic (65% confident) respondents the most optimistic. White respondents were the most pessimistic, at 48% confident and 32% not at all confident.

Nichols’ death has prompted calls for reform and more investigations into everybody who responded the night of Jan. 7. Nichols died in a hospital days later.

“Our hope is that this data is useful to public sector leaders who are ultimately responsible for managing what matters most: the public’s trust,” said Michael Simon, vice president of strategic Partnerships for Zencity. “The proactive steps and atypical transparency from Memphis city officials in recent days have been a sharp contrast to previous tragic incidents.”

Zencity is a consulting company that works with cities and government agencies to “help local leaders recognize the meaningful issues and trends shared by the community,” according to its website. It was founded in 2016 and is based in New York.

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