It took six days for the Ferguson Police Department to name Darren Wilson as the man who fatally shot Michael Brown last Aug. 9. It took the police department in Virginia's Fairfax County more than a year and a half to name the officer that shot and killed an unarmed man who had his hands up on his own doorstep. the Christian Science Monitor says the Virginia indictment of Adam Torres's in the shooting case points to post-Ferguson cracks in the “blue wall of silence” at some police departments. In recent cases from Portsmouth, Va., to Los Angeles, police leaders, realizing that lack of public trust in police puts officers at risk, have favored transparency over political expediency or concerns about officer morale. Gallup has found public trust of police at a 22-year low.
In recent high-profile cases: In Los Angeles in May, civil rights activists commended Police Chief Charlie Beck after he said he was “concerned” about the fatal police shooting of an unarmed homeless man that month. In Portsmouth, Va., the police chief quickly brought in an outside agency to investigate two officer-involved shootings, citing new national guidelines on police accountability and transparency. After a university police officer in Cincinnati was accused of killing an unarmed motorist last month, a grand jury was quickly convened and indicted the officer. This month in Arlington, Tx., police moved quickly to fire officer-in-training Brad Miller for breaking safety protocol in the killing of an unarmed teen who was ransacking a car dealership. On Tuesday, a judge in Albuquerque, N.M., found enough probable cause in the 2014 shooting death of a homeless camper to schedule a murder trial for Officer Dominique Perez and now-retired Officer Keith Sandy.