Then, word came yesterday that Phoenix's public safety manager (Police Chief) Jack Harris has asked the FBI to do its own "independent" probe into the recent incident involving Johnson (pictured).
The feds also are going to be asked to monitor the local agency's internal investigation.
We are aware that police departments around the nation are fond of bringing the "big boys" in to take the heat off themselves in especially sticky political situations.
But we sure didn't see this remarkable sense of urgency in 2007 when a national advocacy group reported that Latinos in Phoenix were getting killed by police officers at a disproportionately higher rate than whites.
That group, the Oakland-based Applied Research Center, also claimed that Phoenix had the highest rate of police shootings of any of the largest U.S. cities.
Whether those shootings were "justified" or not, Phoenix politicos quickly tried to debunk and dismiss the report as exaggerated civil-rights pablum.
Mayor Phil Gordon asked a local TV reporter at the time, "Where would you feel safer, no matter what race, in the city of Phoenix or in the city of Detroit or the city of Miami?"
Gordon then noted, "You know where Phoenix is dangerous. Phoenix is dangerous to criminals -- black, brown, Anglo, or any race that are trying to kill people."
In other words, the cops are always right, and don't let anyone tell you differently.
Yes, we know Mike Johnson wasn't carrying a gun the other night.
All he apparently was doing was trying to check on a neighbor's welfare whose home was aflame.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
And, yes, this decorated ex-police officer was shoved to the ground and handcuffed after he declined to obey the officer's orders to move back.
But what has Councilman Johnson done when the cops allegedly have roughed up (much less shot), his constituents, of whatever race?
To our knowledge, nothing.