In an average of Quinnipiac University polls taken in August and November, only 41 percent of Staten Island residents supported bringing charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo (the margin of error on these combined subsamples is 7 percentage points). In New York overall, 64 percent approved of criminal charges. Staten Island isn’t like the rest of the city.
Half of Staten Islanders thought it was “understandable that the police could have acted” the way they did in the Garner case, compared to 43 percent who said there was “no excuse.” Again, that’s far lower than in the rest of the city, where 66 percent of residents indicated to pollsters that there was “no excuse.”
And while much of the debate about Garner’s death and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has centered on race — both Garner and Brown were unarmed and black — polls show Staten Islanders think police treat both races equally. Almost 60 percent of Staten Islanders, on average, said police treat both races the same, according to Quinnipiac’s surveys. Only 31 percent of all New Yorkers felt the same way. (Staten Island’s adult citizen population — the group from which the grand jury was drawn — is almost 70 percent non-Hispanic white; New York overall is majority non-white).