On January 7, as the whole world now knows, Memphis police pulled over a 29-year-old black man, Tyre Nichols, and gave him a beating. He looked pretty banged up in this photo taken by his family in the hospital, where he died on January 10.
There was rising black anger — reported nationally and even internationally — with calls for officers to be fired and charged with murder. Everyone assumed the cops were white. On January 17, the Nichols family reported that professional racism-chaser Benjamin Crump would represent them. On January 18, the US Department of Justice announced it was joining the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) on the case, and would sniff out civil rights violations. This was shaping up to be the next great “white supremacy” scandal, but on January 20, the Memphis PD dropped a bomb: All the officers — who had just been fired — were black….