In recent years, activists have worked very successfully to raise awareness about police involved killings.
Social media, and Twitter in particular, has been a big part of this effort, with each headline fueling a new wave of disapproval and unrest both on the ground and on social media.
Home security company Protection 1 analyzed more than 1.2 million tweets to find out where approval and disapproval of law enforcement are most prevalent. The report notes that while tempers on social media flare with each report of police involved fatalities, the overall sentiment regarding law enforcement seems positive:
It’s important to note that negative-sentiment tweets and a negative sentiment toward the police aren’t necessarily mutually inclusive. The same is true for positive tweets… Overall – for most months from June 2014 to January 2016 – police-related tweets expressed positive opinions.
Still, there are notable fluctuations in the sentiment of police related tweets when officer involved fatalities make headline news. The report also points out that the more police related tweets there are, the more negative the sentiment, attributing this trend to the spike in related tweets following police involved killings, particularly when the death of a black person is seen as being the fault of the police.
When broken down geographically, tweets from southern states including Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia seem to “radiate” negativity toward police. Conversely, tweets from states like Wyoming and North Dakota expressed a more positive sentiment. This trend carries over to cities with tweets from Ferguson, Missouri and Chandler, Arizona expressing the most negativity.
Check out the full report for more charts and data about who tweets the most about police and where.