Poll finds racial divide over Wilson charges

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Americans are sharply divided along racial lines as to whether Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson should be charged with murder in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday finds.

Fifty-four percent of nonwhites — including blacks, Latinos and Asians — say Wilson should be charged with murder, while just 23% of whites agree. And 38% of whites say Wilson should be charged with no crime at all, while just 15% of nonwhites hold that position.

The poll’s results come as the grand jury prepares to make its decision, with an announcement expected Monday evening.

Most Americans agree that Wilson should at least face some form of criminal charges, the poll finds.

A combined total of 32% say a Missouri grand jury should charge Wilson with murder, while 25% say he should face lesser criminal charges and 21% say he should be charged with no crime at all.

The CNN/ORC International survey of 1,045 Americans was conducted Nov. 21-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

There is broad 63% agreement that peaceful protests are justified if a grand jury doesn’t indict Wilson for murder. But a racial divide exists over whether violent protests are justified in that case, with 22% of nonwhites saying yes while 10% of whites agree.

The differences underscored the broader perceptions of prejudice among police officers.

Only 19% of whites said some or most police officers in their areas are prejudiced against blacks, while 33% of nonwhites held that opinion.

Half of all whites say that “almost none” or “none” of the police in their areas are prejudiced against blacks. Only 35% of nonwhites agreed with that view.

More on the case here.

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