The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Staten Island grand juries decided against indictment more often than state average in 2013

Placeholder while article actions load

The decision Wednesday by a grand jury on Staten Island not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner this summer vibrates from echoes of a similar decision in Ferguson, Mo., last month. On Staten Island, decisions of "no bill" from grand juries, like that for Pantaleo, are actually more common than in the rest of the state.

Janine Kava of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services provided The Post with data from each of New York City's counties (which overlap with its boroughs) detailing the frequency of "no bill" decisions.

On Staten Island, 3.2 percent of felony actions in 2013 resulted in a "no bill" decision. That includes "superior court informations," which don't go to a grand jury. Excluding SCIs, 5.1 percent of actions on Staten Island resulted in "no true bill," and 4.3 percent did in all of New York State. It's worth noting that Staten Island sees fewer cases than other boroughs; Brooklyn, which saw the most no bills, saw over seven times as many felony actions as Staten Island's Richmond County.

Since 2010, the number of no bill decisions statewide has dropped — occurring about 3.8 percent of the time that year to about 3.3 percent in 2012 and just over 3 percent last year.

There isn't separate data available for how frequently law enforcement officers face indictment. After the Garner case became public, the New York Times described several notorious police killings that resulted in a range of legal responses. About a month ago, two police officers in Brooklyn were indicted for assaulting a teenager during an arrest in Crown Heights.