By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Marylanders are weighing in on who is likely to be at fault in violent police encounters.

Pat Warren has results of a new poll.

Marylanders were asked what they think is the bigger cause of violent encounters between the public and the police.

The man at the center of one struggle with police last month is charged with assaulting the officers. Also last month, an officer was charged with assaulting a man during an arrest. Two examples of incidents escalating to violence.

Is it the attitude of police?

“I think they’re a little overaggressive sometimes. They need more training, less us vs. them mentality,” said Trevor Thomas.

Or is it people’s behavior toward police?

“I think they’re the target nowadays of individuals and people who don’t like law enforcement,” said John Nieves.

A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found 45% of those polled fault people disrespecting police and not following orders for violent encounters. Forty-three percent fault police for treating law-abiding citizens like suspects and use of foce.

But the racial divide is dramatic. Sixty percent of whites fault people and 28% fault the police. Among African-Americans, 68% fault police and 19% people.

“This is a social problems situation,” said Doug Ward, Johns Hopkins University Public Safety Leadership.

Ward says the poll shows a difference between white and minority experience with police.

“Absolutely and that’s why others see that and say how can that be? Because they don’t see it, they don’t realize it,” Ward said. “But it’s hard to believe it’s not happening. This many people can’t be just making this up.”

And now cameras are in play.

Sixty-two percent of those polled said minorities do not receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system.

One thousand and six randomly selected Marylanders were interviewed between October 8 and 11.


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