KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll: Minnesotans respond to George Floyd investigation

A majority of Minnesotans feel the four now-fired Minneapolis police officers were appropriately charged in the George Floyd case, according to a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll.

"I think it’s a demonstration that the popular culture is changing and public opinion is changing," former U.S. Attorney and current University of St. Thomas Law professor Rachel Paulose said about four police officers charged in the Floyd case.

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Charges against Fired Officers

SurveyUSA interviewed 1,500 Minnesota adults over the last several days in the state regarding the Floyd case, race relations and police reform.

Survey USA also asked about the other three officers who are facing lesser charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder in connection to Floyd’s death.

Fair Trial in Minneapolis?

The cases against former Minneapolis Police Officers Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are being brought in Hennepin County, prosecuted with help from the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Forty percent of those surveyed say the officers cannot receive a fair trial in Minneapolis.

"I’m sure the officer’s lawyers will ask for a change of venue based on the nature and extent and depth of the coverage," Paulose said.

But Paulose said it’s rare for a judge to grant a change of venue.

Paulose said in this case, she expects most potential jurors will have heard of George Floyd.

Race Relations and Police Reform

"The majority of Minnesotan’s think it will get better," said Professor Samuel L. Myers Jr., who directs the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice at the University of Minnesota.

"We’ve had these optimistic responses before, but we didn’t put the money into the mechanisms that would sustain these transformations of police departments," Myers said.

Protests and Riots

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed statewide say the peaceful protests that followed Floyd’s death were justified.

When it comes to how the city and state leaders handled the protests, results are split.

Statewide, 37 percent of those who responded said they strongly approved or approved of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s response to the protests that followed Floyd’s death.

The same question was posed regarding Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

Results showed 52% of those polled strongly approved or approved of Walz’s response to the protests.