A large majority expected last night's violence in Ferguson and only a fifth of white Americans say that Officer Darren Wilson should be punished for shooting Michael Brown
Last night prosecutors announced that a Ferguson grand jury had decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown. Soon after the announcement disorder began on the streets of the St. Louis suburb, with local police describing the rioting as worse than the nights of clashes and looting in August. Grand jurors had to sift through a mountain of evidence in their decision, as well as deal with differing witness statements, but the decision not to indict is highly unusual for a grand jury which only has to consider whether there is 'probable cause' for a trial.
Research conducted by YouGov prior to the announcement that officer Wilson would not be prosecuted showed that 73% of Americans expected violence in the event that he was not indicted. 23% of the country said that there would be violence in Ferguson even if the grand jury had decided to put Wilson on trial. Only 10% of the country thought that there wouldn't be violence regardless of what happened.
There is a massive racial divide between white and black Americans about whether Darren Wilson should face punishment for killing Michael Brown. While only 22% of whites say that wilson was at fault and should be punished, just under two-thirds (64%) of black Americans want the officer to be punished. 30% of whites, and 11% of blacks, say that the shooting was a tragic accident. 29% of whites say that officer Wilson was fully justified in shooting Brown, something only 4% of black Americans agree with.
There is also a notable partisan divide on the issue. 42% of Democrats say that Wilson was at fault and should be punished, but only 13% of Republicans say the same. 41% of Republicans say that officer Wilson was fully justified in shooting Brown, something only 9% of Democrats agree with.
Full poll results can be found here.