SANFORD, Fla. -- Two new polls in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting show divergent views among black and white Americans over whether the unarmed black teenager’s shooting was justified, and show that most residents believe they should have the right to use deadly force if their lives are threatened.
Both polls were conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. In the poll on the Feb. 26 shooting, 91% of black Americans surveyed said that the fatal shooting of Martin by Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was unjustified. Among whites, that number was 35%; among Latinos, 59%.
"This incident is one of the clearest splits we've seen between whites and blacks," Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson told Reuters.
But, he added, most people -- whether white or black or Latino -- agreed that the full story of what happened that night would probably remain unknown.
"I think that's indicative that they don't really trust the whole narrative," Jackson said. "I imagine that the way people go on this question is different -- whites don't think the same things happened as African Americans, for instance, but they all believed that they're not going to know what really happened."