One Year After George Floyd's Death: Californians are Conflicted on Police Reform

Cal State Fullerton Study from an August Poll Shows Support for Activists and Reform

Fullerton, California, UNITED STATES

Fullerton, California, May 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cal State Fullerton criminal justice professor Christine Gardiner’s new report about Californians’ perceptions of police and police reform offers an analysis of the poll conducted within months of George Floyd’s death. The study shows Californians are inconsistent in how they feel about police. Many see themselves “in the middle” — as supporting both police and racial justice advocates, not just one or the other.

  • There is consensus that police are respected (56.6% agreed), trustworthy (49% agreed), and effective problem-solvers. (49.6% agree). However, there is less agreement that police are fair and respectful to everyone (43.9%) and enforce laws consistently (40.6%).
  • Almost three-quarters (72.7%) of Californians support the protests seeking police reform and believe that reform is necessary. Yet, most individuals (49%) see themselves as supporting both police and racial justice advocates, rather than one or the other.
  • Nearly one-third (30.8%) of Californians reported that they have been treated unfairly by police; and this experience negatively impacts their views of police, whether they think others will cooperate with the police, and their views on necessary reforms.
  • The reforms with the greatest support are de-escalation training (94.8%), providing body-worn cameras to all officers (93.7%), use of early warning systems (88.9%), decertifying officers for misconduct (88.3%), and banning chokeholds (79.8%).

Continue the conversation with Christine Gardiner at To schedule an interview with Christine Gardiner, please contact Cerise Valenzuela Metzger at or 657-278-4856.


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