Since black 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by a white officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, tensions between African-American communities and police forces have escalated throughout the country.
Now, a Gallup Poll shows that African-Americans' trust in their local law-enforcement officials is far lower than that of whites and Hispanics. And members of Congress are preparing to step in.
Overall, 57 percent of Americans trust the police in their neighborhoods. More than 60 percent of whites and exactly 57 percent of Hispanics express faith in the institutions. That number falls dramatically, however, within the black community, where just 34 percent feel confident in the police. In urban communities, blacks feel even less comfortable with their law-enforcement agents. Just 26 percent of African-Americans living in big cities say they trust the police.
In recent weeks, this lack of faith has become kinetic following the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and in Staten Island, N.Y., not to indict police officers in the death of Brown or in the July choke-hold death of Eric Garner.
While instances of police and community fracturing have long been an issue, the Congressional Black Caucus says it is preparing to unveil a package of reforms as early as this week that would address some of the uneasiness within the black community.