In light of the Eric Gardner and Micheal Brown Grand Jury outcomes. I wanted to know what % of Police Officers are actually indicted by a Grand Jury.

I found some interesting charts that may give additional context:

Homicide Report 2012 killed during arrest

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    There's a good couple of FiveThirtyEight articles on this. Let me find them and give you an answer.
    – Publius
    Dec 5, 2014 at 4:06

2 Answers 2


As there are few government data on the subject of police complaints, it is hard to come by a definite answer. However, FiveThiryEight.com examined several studies which found that around 40% of complaints against police officers resulted in legal action, and of those complaints that did result in legal action, 33% resulted in a conviction and 12% in an incarceration.

This is lower than the conviction rate for the normal population, in which 68% of felony defendants who aren't police officers are convicted, and 48% are incarcerated.

Conviction rates of police officers and citizens

For Grand Jury indictments specifically: while grand juries result in indictments approximately 100% of the time, grand juries will tend to indict much less frequently if the defendant is a police officer. In 2010, of 162,000 federal grand juries, only 11 declined to indict. While there are few good data on nation-wide grand jury investigations of police officers, some specific locations have been studied, and in those locations, grand juries have tended to refuse to indict police officers. In the 81 grand jury investigations of police shootings in Dallas between 2008 and 2012, only 1 resulted in an indictment.

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    Note on the last point: The "11 failed to indict" is federal grand juries; state grand juries (like in Dallas) are not included.
    – cpast
    Dec 5, 2014 at 6:00
  • @cpast that's a good point of clarification, given that I'm doing a comparison. I'll add that in there.
    – Publius
    Dec 5, 2014 at 7:04
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    Question is, what would the numbers be if you normalize for prosecutor bending to public pressure and sending LE-defenant cases to the jury (to avoid public backlash, or pressure from the Feds) that clearly have no way of being successfully prosecuted and would NOT be brought to the jury by the same prosecutor for a civilian without publicity involved?
    – user4012
    Feb 9, 2015 at 21:27
  • @DVK The article does mention that, but I'm skeptical that explains the disparity, as that would have to mean that every single grand jury investigation of a police officer, more or less, was motivated by public outcry, and no grand jury investigations not of police officers were.
    – Publius
    Feb 9, 2015 at 22:58

The hard data does not exist to answer the question, but analysis of what data is available points towards it being quite the anomaly for a police officer to be indicted.






  • @GeorgeChen please keep the comments on topic. Feb 6, 2015 at 23:28
  • I'm downvoting this question and here's why: It's reasonable to assume that the OP already has a vague sense that police don't get indicted very often, and he needs statistics in order to prove it, either to himself or to others. Most of the articles linked, do not help satisfy that need. Feb 6, 2015 at 23:35
  • If you dig around a bit, you might be able to find some promising leads, such as This Page which was linked in one of the articles, but not in the articles themselves. Even if there is some more hard data buried in the articles, you'd still have to search the articles to find it because this answer does not tell you where that data is found. In my opinion, that more work than reasonable to get useful information from this answer. Feb 6, 2015 at 23:38

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