Many of us thought this story sounded funny when it was first reported. And Prof. Lacewell is right to note that things have changed a great deal since the Susan Smith hoax (and incidentally the Carol Stuart hoax before that). But the question is how? Is it just the passage of time? Is it that folks just get an epiphany and then realize what the real deal is?

Take a look at this footage. Who is doing the talking for the police department? The racial integration of police departments across the country have not eased the tension between them and the black communities they work to supposedly serve. Some of the police accused of murdering Justin Bell were African American. But the increase in the number of black police officers–which comes as a result of political action– has arguably increased the level of skepticism applied to cases like this.