Nearly a quarter of all black men under the age of 35 reported to having been treated less fairly by a police officer in the last month, according to a recent Gallup poll.
The survey was conducted between June 13 and July 5, during the height of the George Zimmerman trial, which Gallup said has "raised the issue of racial profiling" as well as the "relationship between young black men ... and the police."
Researchers surveyed 4,373 men and women from ages 18 to older than 55, including 1,010 non-Hispanic blacks, and found that younger black adults more often reported that they felt they were treated less fairly because of their race. For men ages 35 to 54, the percentage dropped from 24 to 22 percent, and down to 11 percent for men over the age of 55. The percentage of women who said they felt they were treated unfairly was lower – 18 percent of women under 34, 12 percent of women between 35 and 54 and 10 percent of women over 55.
The overall number of black adults who said they were treated unfairly is lower than measures of the same question between 1999 and 2007. The issue reached a peak in 2004, when a quarter of all black adults said they had been treated unfairly. In 1997, the first year Gallup asked the question, only 15 percent of black adults said they had been treated unfairly by police.
"The self-reported incidence of such complaints by blacks of all ages is ... lower now than it has been in recent years, suggesting some positive change in this ongoing component of U.S. race relations – at least before the verdict in the Martin case was announced," the report on the survey says.
Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of all charges on Saturday by an all-female jury. He was accused of second-degree murder for fatally shooting a black teenager, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
"Some critics of the verdict say Martin's death – although it was at the hands of a neighborhood watch official, not a police officer – was symptomatic of the way in which young black men are profiled," the report says.
When researchers asked a similar question to Hispanics, 13 percent of males under the age of 35 said the police had treated them unfairly within the last 30 days.
The survey also asked the respondents about four other situations in which they may have been treated unfairly: While shopping, while at a bar, theater or restaurant, while at work or while receiving health care.
Those surveyed reported shopping as the most troublesome situation overall, with 24 percent saying they had been treated unfairly. Situations involving the police was ranked second, followed by places of entertainment, places of work and situations involving health care.
The survey also found that young black men's perceptions of unfair treatment while receiving health care or while shopping were below the overall average, and their views of unfair treatment while at work are only two percentage points higher than the overall average.
But the report says the fact that young black men are more likely to say they have been treated unfairly by police is reflective of the feelings of those who have been protesting the Zimmerman verdict, arguing that "the case and its outcome reflect a pervasive set of discriminatory practices in U.S. law enforcement."