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Diversity In Crowd At George Floyd Protests Shows Growing Support For Change, UMD Professors Say

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) -- Two sociology professors at the University of Maryland have been studying the recent protests and bias in policing and examining what all of it says about race in America right now.

The nationwide movement now underway after the death of George Floyd is shedding light on how more and more Americans are outraged by police brutality, racism and inequality in the country.

Sociology professors Dr. Rayshawn Ray and Dr. Dana Fisher have closely watched and studied the recent protests and are examining what they're showing about race in America now.

For example, they looked at the racial makeup of protestors over the past weekend in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

"Between 50 and 60 percent of the crowds were white in each of these cities this weekend which does suggest that you see the white allies joining a crowd. That's very good evidence of the diversity of the movement," Dr. Fisher said.

Ray said recent polls show a large number of Americans realize that the killing of George Floyd is not an isolated incident and is part of something larger.

"Regardless of people's political orientation, they do not want to see it be a part of America that they imagined for themselves and their kids," Ray said.

The professors said the protests may signal that change is coming.

"I think there's this really interesting momentum building and will it lead to big change in November. That much we don't know, but there's a lot of evidence that that's the direction it's going," Fisher said.

They have also developed a tool that could help with the issues in policing in departments across the country.

"We developed a virtual reality decision making program that helps police officers to make better decisions. If Baltimore and others get on board with this type of advanced innovative training to help their officers make better decisions," the professors said.

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