WASHINGTON (AP) — The shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson has magnified the distrust that can exist between police and some minority communities.
President Barack Obama noted Monday that "a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement."
One factor that breeds distrust is racial disparity between police and the communities they serve. Distrust is also fueled by a perception of unchecked police violence through the ages, including the 1992 acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King.
American University professor Cathy Lisa Schneider, who wrote a book on urban unrest, said distrust breeds frustration with police when there is no avenue of redress "and usually an increasing intensity of police violence."