Attorney for Mr. Ben Crump. Nichols’ family praised the swift timeline but suggested race may have played a role. Five of the charged officers are black. “We want to announce that this is the blueprint for the future and any time any officer, black or white, will be held accountable,” Mr. Crump said. “You can no longer tell us we have to wait six months to a year.”
Chris Magnus, who once led the Tucson, Arizona, police department, said that in the past “there was an attitude that the less there was sharing of incidents — certainly incidents that reflected police shortcomings or misconduct — — the better.”
“I think it’s fueling a climate of mistrust and lack of confidence in the police because people feel like they’re only being indoctrinated when it’s good news,” Mr. Magnus is currently a Senior Advisor to the Policing Program at New York University School of Law.
In recent years, some police departments have avoided a case-by-case debate over releasing footage and have begun routinely releasing videos of officers shooting shots. For example, officials in Milwaukee and Phoenix post presentations on YouTube that often include footage from body cameras, sometimes edited and narrated. Some agencies are now allowing families of the deceased to view the videos before releasing them to the public.
Kristen Ziman, who is retiring as police chief in Aurora, Illinois, in 2021, said she was told early in her career not to comment on police shootings. The idea is to risk jeopardizing criminal or internal investigations.
But in recent years, she said, that strategy has become untenable. As high-profile deaths at the hands of police spark protests across the country, expectations have shifted as more and more departments adopt body cameras. The 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which sparked protests and unrest across the country, including in Aurora, was a turning point, she said.