courtesy of this post at 538.com by Ben Casselman
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
Granted this is Missouri, which allows cases to be brought through a preliminary hearing before a judge, and where we do not have complete statistics.
Still, legal experts agree that, at any level, it is extremely rare for prosecutors to fail to win an indictment.
Of course, that presumes that the intent is to seek an indictment, and this prosecutor has never indicted a cop for killing a civilian.
That is apparently not that unusual, and I will quote part of the piece on that subject (you should go to the original for the hyperlinks):
A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that “police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings” in Houston and other large cities in recent years. In Harris County, Texas, for example, grand juries haven’t indicted a Houston police officer since 2004; in Dallas, grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment. Separate research by Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson has found that officers are rarely charged in on-duty killings, although it didn’t look at grand jury indictments specifically.
I would be interested to know what percentage of those actually indicted killed a person of color. I have this gnawing fear that those indicted were likely officers of color who killed whites. I hope I am wrong.
This raises another issue, one to perhaps be further explored: even before we began to militarize our police, were officers (a) properly screened for bias and mental stability (screening out those with personality disorders and strong prejudices); and (b) are they really properly trained in the use of deadly force? I suspect the answer to both questions is sadly a negative.
Which means we may have too many people who are unstable and/or prejudiced without proper training walking around with loaded weapons.
Gee, it sounds just like George Zimmerman, only these guys are official cops, not just wannabees.
Make of this what you will.
I feel no peace, just sadness and anger.