Poll: The Diallo Verdict

Reaction to the verdict in the Albany trial of four New York City police officers for the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from Guinea, shows a public at odds with the jury in this closely watched trial, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

Friday evening, the jury reached a verdict of "not guilty" on all counts for police officers Sean Carroll, Edward McMellon, Kenneth Boss and Richard Murphy. On Saturday and Sunday, 86 percent of those living in New York state said they had heard or read about the verdict, and half said that the jury's verdict was wrong. Only 30 percent think the verdict was the right one.

  REACTION TO THE DIALLO VERDICT
 
  All Blacks Whites
 


Right 30% 8% 37%

Wrong 50 77 40

As might be expected, reactions are divided along racial lines. Overwhelmingly, blacks disapprove of the jury's verdict, as 77 percent say the jury reached the wrong verdict, and 8 percent say the verdict was the right one. Among whites, there is a mixed reaction to the jury's decision; 37 percent think the verdict was right, and 40 percent think it was wrong.

New York City residents express stronger reaction to the outcome of this case than do those living in other areas of the state. 61 percent of those living in New York City sy they think the jury reached the wrong verdict, compared to 46 percent of those living in the New York City suburbs and 41 percent of those living in the rest of the state. In all parts of the state, however, more disagreed with the verdict than agreed with it.

Reaction to the verdict also differs among men and women. 35 percent of men think the jury reached the right verdict, and 43 percent think it reached the wrong one. Among women, 26 percent think the verdict was right, and 55 percent think it was wrong.

STRONG FEELINGS AND CLOSE ATTENTION

Reaction to the verdict is stronger among those who feel it was wrong than among those who feel it was right only 19 percent say they feel strongly that the verdict reached was the right one, while 40 percent feel strongly that it was wrong.

Most blacks have strong feelings about the outcome of this trial; 71 percent feel strongly that the verdict was wrong. Only 28 percent of whites feel strongly that the jury reached the wrong verdict.

Blacks also followed the trial more closely than whites did. 79 percent of blacks say they paid close attention, with 45 percent saying they followed it very closely. Although nearly as many whites 71 percent say they followed the trial, only half as many did so very closely.

FOLLOWED TRIAL:

  All Blacks Whites
 


Very closely 28% 45% 24%

Somewhat closely 44 34 47

Not very/not at all closely 27 18 28

In an attempt to find a jury that would be less influenced by media coverage of the event, the trial was held in Albany, although the shooting occurred in New York City. Indeed, this case WAS followed more closely by those living in or near New York. Nearly three quarters of New York state residents overall say they followed this trial closely, with 28 percent saying they followed it very closely. In New York City, 78 percent say they followed the case closely, as did 80 percent of those living in the city's suburbs. In contrast, 61 percent of those living in other areas of the state followed the case closely.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 911 adults in New York state, interviewed by telephone February 26-27, 2000. The sample includes 656 whites and 142 blacks. Sampling error could be plus or minus three points for the entire sample, plus or minus four points for whites and plus or minus eight points for blacks. For full question wording and poll findings, please contact the CBS Election and Survey Unit at 212-975-5554.


Featured

Latest from CBS News