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The police, the projects and Donald Trump - a recipe for disaster?

Ahead of Friday's presidential inauguration, ITV News has travelled across the US to find out Americans' hopes and fears of a Donald Trump presidency.

In housing "projects" across America, there's a genuine concern as to what the coming Trump presidency might bring.

Relations between police and disenfranchised black youth are strained to breaking point in many places. A series of videos showing cops beating, and in some cases shooting, unarmed black men has turned a trust deficit into a crisis.

One provocative comment or ill thought out tweet from the new President could set the whole tinderbox alight.

The shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer sparked fierce rioting in Ferguson. Credit: AP

That's not just the word on the street, senior police officers feel it too.

"If the President says something that ignites a fire in small town USA, that place has to deal with the aftermath", Delrish Moss told me, and he should know, he's the recently appointed chief of police in Ferguson, Missouri, a city torn apart by riots in the Summer of 2014.

Ferguson's police chief Delrish Moss. Credit: ITV News

The Obama administration blamed local cops for the disorder, a Government report found the police department in Ferguson to be institutionally racist. Officers reject the accusation, but it cost the previous chief of police his job and badly dented morale in the force.

Ex-Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson believes his force were 'thrown under the bus'. Credit: ITV News

Donald Trump's election victory has acted as a fillip, lifting the flagging spirits of rank and file officers across the country. They feel that, finally, somebody "has their back".

Trump has made no secret of his support for the forces of law and order. Where Barack Obama may have been inclined to side with protestors, the new president's weight is firmly behind the cops.

Donald Trump has emphasised the need to 'bring back law and order'. Credit: AP

Activists fear this will end badly, "the police feel empowered already" said Tory Russell, one of the key figures in the Ferguson protests, "If there's more police aggression, black people are going to rise up".

Nobody here wants to see disorder, but the situation is precarious and a long, hot Summer won't help. It requires a delicate hand with a sensitive touch, and they're skills we have yet to see Donald Trump display.