A majority of Americans back the decision to bring criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers for the death of Freddie Gray, a new Pew Research survey finds.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in April after sustaining a fatal neck injury while in police custody, touching off days of protests in Baltimore.
Sixty-five percent say that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby made the right decision to file charges against the officers, while just 16 percent said she made the wrong decision. Another 18 percent were undecided.
Support for the charges transcends racial lines for the most part -- and political lines, though to a lesser extent. Sixty percent of whites and 78 percent of blacks said charging the officers was the right decision. Although Democrats were 30 points more likely than Republicans to support the charges, members of the GOP were still more likely than not to say it was the right decision.
While Americans are relatively united in their reaction to the charges, the survey makes clear that deep divides remain on the issues surrounding the unrest that followed Gray's death. Democrats are most likely to cite tensions between the black community and police as contributing toward the violence in Baltimore, while Republicans are most likely to fault "people taking advantage to engage in criminal behavior."
A HuffPost/YouGov poll released last week found that black Americans overwhelmingly considered Gray's death to be part of a broader pattern in how police treat black men. White Americans, who largely viewed the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, as an isolated incident, were about evenly divided on whether Gray's death reflected a larger pattern.
Pew surveyed 1,000 adults between April 30 and May 3, using live interviewers to reach both landlines and cell phones.