Date of Conferral
Police-involved deaths of African Americans have increased over the past two decades, with continued high-profile media exposure. The problem is that extant research provided only a partial understanding and disparate focus about how media exposure, social responses, social media use, and attitudes towards police were possibly related to citizens witnessing acts of police-initiated actions against African Americans in the United States. The purpose of this quantitative study was to assess the predictive nature of media exposure, social response, and social media use concerning citizens' attitudes towards police. The two theories supporting this study and shaped this hypothetical system are media dependency and the structural strain theory. Data were collected using a characteristic profile survey, Index of Social Networking, Offline and Online Activity Levels Measure, and Attitudes Towards Police Scale with a convenience sample of 132 respondents who were 18 year of age or older who are identified as users of the social media platforms Facebook and LinkedIn. Data were analyzed using Pearson Correlation and forward entry multiple linear regression. The overall model was significant (p = .002) and accounted for 12.3% of the variance in the respondent's attitude toward the police, however, media was not significant. This study represented an effort into understanding the sentiments of police and police activity coupled with media-driven and public attitudes towards police-initiated actions. These findings can be used to enhance relationships between communities and the police, especially in the practice of community policing and resolving negative perceptions based on cultural imprints that hinder effective policing.