Martin Luther King Jr. Day began with the release of a poll by Siena College that found 66 percent of New York voters believe race relations in the state could be described as “fair” or “poor.” Just under 33 percent chose “excellent” or “good” from the given options.
According to Capital:
In a poll released this time last year, 47 percent of those similarly questioned felt race relations were “excellent” or “good,” compared to 51 percent who said they were “fair” or “poor.”
“Even as we celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. King, New Yorkers’ feelings about the state of race relations here are more negative today than they have been for the past several years,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement accompanying the poll results. “Clearly, events over the last several months, particularly Ferguson and Staten Island, have had a significant impact on how many New Yorkers feel about race relations.”
The poll also found 85 percent of black voters believe that a Staten Island grand jury should have indicted officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. That decision was almost an even split among white voters’s opinions, with 44 percent saying Pantaleo should have been indicted and 43 percent saying the jury’s decision was correct. That divide became even more strongly defined when voters were asked if federal charges should be filed against the officer; 87 percent of black voters said yes, while only 37 percent of whites agreed.
As for the leaders involved in improving police-community relations, voters generally disapproved of all the key players performance. Fewer than 40 percent of those polled believed Governor Cuomo and police Commissioner Bill Bratton were improving the situation. For Mayor Bill de Blasio, about 48 percent believe he’s actually making relations worse and 57 percent say the same about the Reverend Al Sharpton.
One thing all races could agree on is that Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch is hurting relations between the community and police. After a union meeting last week that reportedly included shouting and shoving, it would seem some police officers are beginning to question Lynch’s leadership as well.
(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)