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Beyond the Rhetoric


ESPN television

recently produced a brilliant

documentary on

the murder trial of OJ

Simpson. I thought I

knew OJ but after seeing

the documentary I have

concluded that my opinion

of him and the trial

was rather shallow. The “Juice” as he is known to

many was truly a complex piece of work. He was a

great football player and hero to many youngsters.

As his talent on the football field was beginning to

come to an end, he morphed into a public relations

phenomenon. His advertising activities took him

to the top of a new game. He was making millions

without playing any more football. Movies, sports

announcing and a very popular pitchman were

now generating serious money. The Hertz Rental

Car ad became one of the greatest ads of all time.

It was surprising to most Blacks that OJ lost his

identity. OJ became a white man. He no longer

circulated in the Hood. His environment was

Beverly Hills, Malibu, Brentwood, etc. With that

also came his new taste in women. He divorced his

Black wife and married a white 19-year-old waitress.

Pretty soon his new white in-laws started

relying on the revenue that the Juice was making.

They had no shame in not working and the Juice

took care of all of them.

Living in a colorless society was the fantasy that

OJ was in. What a pipe dream! This was Los

Angeles with a racial animus that was like no other

city. One of the worst police forces in our nation,

in regards to racism, is the Los Angeles Police

Department. How did it get this way in a very liberal

West Coast city? According to Elaine Brown

(her book “A Taste of Power”) during the 1930’s

Los Angeles was booming in population growth.

They had a shortage of policemen and went on a

major recruiting project. LAPD noticed at the time

that one of the best trained police forces was

Houston, Texas. Houston police officers received a

$5,000 hiring bonus for joining the LAPD. They

came by the thousands and with them was that

southern racial animus. This transformed the

LAPD into a virtual enemy of Los Angeles Blacks.

OJ’s immense popularity gave him a pass with

the LAPD. When the world learned that OJ’s white

wife was brutally murdered along with Ron

Goldman few suspected the Juice. That quickly

changed when the local press showed the world

that OJ was a wife abuser (documented by 911

complaints. The LAPD pounced on the “brother”.

There was no more whiteness for Mr. Simpson.

Black America can be so forgiving when some

of us betray our heritage and race. This was the

racist LAPD and most of us decided to believe that

OJ was innocent. The documentary showed the

actual murder scene. Nicole Simpson (OJ’s wife)

was pretty much decapitated. Ron Goldman was

repeatedly stabbed. It looked more like ISIS did

this. How could the Juice be so violent? Suddenly,

the white side of Los Angeles flipped their admiration

for the Juice. He became one of the most

hated persons to white America.

It probably could have been a slam dunk murder

case. But there were two big developments. OJ

hired one of the greatest defense lawyers of all time,

Johnnie Cochran. The other development was that

the LAPD is clumsy in their investigations. Their

reputation of evidence tampering, framing and

doctoring the ballistics is notorious. Attorney

Cochran had been fighting the LAPD his entire

career. Also, Cochran was prepared to “rip” prosecuting

attorneys Marcia Clark and Chris Darden.

They were no match.

The trial was fully televised and as it dragged on

Los Angeles became very tense. People were fearing

that if the verdict was guilty another race riot in

the City of Angels was going to be a certainty. The

OJ case was turning into a civil rights issue. The

Black Panthers started demonstrating. The Fruit of

Islam became body guards for Johnnie Cochran.

Blacks and whites would fiercely debate on evening

talk shows. Chris Darden was considered an

“Uncle Tom”. The times became tense and depressing.

It didn’t take long into the trial that Mr.

Cochran and his team started showing flaws in the

police investigation. Missing blood from the vial

taken on OJ. The infamous glove that did not fit.

Most of all, the racist voice tape filled with the N

word by detective Mark Furman started to present

doubt to the jury which was amply filled with

Blacks. The Watts Riot and the Rodney King riot

left no confidence in the LAPD for Black and

brown Los Angeles. Having the venue in downtown

LA was a bad idea for the LA prosecutor. In

retrospect, the jury was tainted by the reputation of

the LAPD. Johnnie Cochran was indeed brilliant.

It didn’t take the jury long to return an innocent

verdict. Black LA exploded with joy while the

white side of town and across America went into

shock. Perhaps it was the greatest trial in history.

But all that mattered was the racial animus of the

Los Angeles Police Department.

Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the

National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: Email:

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