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New Monmouth University Poll Finds 'Deep Racial Divide' On Alleged Racism In The Judicial Process

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ (CBS) – A new Monmouth University Poll finds a "deep racial divide" on perceived racism in the judicial process.

According to the poll, black Americans are much more likely than white or Hispanic Americans to believe the police officer involved in the Eric Garner case would have been indicted if Garner was white.

Furthermore, less than half of whites (43%) say African-Americans are justifiably upset about how the cases of Garner and Michael Brown have been handled by the judicial system. Thirty-eight percent feel the black community's reaction is not justified, and 11% felt it depends on the reaction.

In contrast, 66% of blacks say their community should be upset with the decisions, and the majority (58%) believe the officer involved in the Garner case would have been indicted if Garner had been white.

"The poll indicates a strong sense of distrust for the entire justice process among black Americans, not only for the police but for the actions of courts and prosecutors as well," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey, in a release.

When it comes to how police are perceived to treat a black versus a white suspect, 64% of African-Americans feel police are more likely to use excessive force on a black suspect, compared with just 26% of whites and 35% of Hispanics who said the same.

Another interesting aspect of the Monmouth poll is that it asked those surveyed about social media and its impact on the reaction to the cases.

Nearly 75% of Americans say they watched the video of the Garner arrest and one-fifth say a friend or co-worker expressed an opinion about the cases that upset them.

About half of those who said their friends or acquaintances made a distressing comment also said that comment was made in person, while 25% said it was made on social media. Two-thirds of the group reported that the upsetting opinion was shared by someone who is the same race as them.

Overall, about half of Americans polled reported they were following the controversial police cases very or somewhat closely.

According to Monmouth University, the poll was conducted by telephone earlier in December and surveyed just over 1,000 adults. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%.

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