Amid a reckoning over law enforcement that is roiling the nation, Milwaukee residents by nearly 2-1 give low ratings to the city’s police department, a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network Poll finds.
The survey, the first in a series in major American cities, explores attitudes toward law enforcement at a critical moment. Cellphone footage of George Floyd being killed last spring by a Minneapolis police officer, and a string of other videos showing deadly police action against Black Americans, have fueled outrage and upheaval across the country.
In Milwaukee, a third of those surveyed (35%) say the city's police are doing an excellent or good job, but 61% assess their performance as fair or poor. Concerns about police practices cross racial lines but the assessment among Black residents is particularly harsh: Just 1% say the department is doing an “excellent” job.
"Who are they going to serve and who are they going to protect?" Jason Brooks, 39, asked skeptically. A Black man who was interviewed after being called in the poll, he said he had been the victim of racial profiling by Milwaukee police. "I've been stopped a couple of times for what they considered suspiciously walking," the professional wrestler said. "Like, I don't know how you walk suspiciously."