Sunday, September 16, 2007

Can Even O.J. Be a Victim of a Police Rush to Judgment?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

O.J. Simpson screamed loud and long that anyone who thinks he’s stupid enough to commit robbery in of all places Las Vegas has got to be nuts. The world’s best known accused and acquitted double murder defendant seems to have a point. His mug is known far and wide, and any and everything he does generally makes news. And when it doesn’t he makes sure that he turns up at a sports card signing, makes a reality show pitch, or takes a failed shot at a self-confessional book to grab some headlines and further stir the public’s hate Simpson juices.

So why did Simpson according to police feel that he needed to charge into a hotel room and snatch and grab some sports memorabilia from two collectors, at gunpoint no less? Why not call the police if the items as he claims are his and have them recover them? Simpson says the explanation is simple. The police won’t lift a finger to help him. That’s a clumsy, but tactful way of saying that he’s a marked man, and that police have had it in for him ever since he beat the double murder charge.
At first glance this seems to be the desperate rant of a guy who’s prone to lie, cheat, and as most think kill. But beyond his vehement protest that he’s innocent, Simpson also knows that playing the anti- police card might resonate if ever so slight with some. There’s no evidence at this stage of the case that Simpson was framed, or that Las Vegas police licked their chops at the thought of getting him back in a legal noose. He was at the hotel, the goods were taken, and a robbery complaint was filed.

From the day that he beat the double murder rap and walked out of a Los Angeles court a decade ago, he has gone wherever he pleased and done what he pleased. He’s at times been trailed by a pack of doting former fans, and celebrity gawkers. There is no evidence that police in any of these cities have routinely subjected him to a special get Simpson profile. Yet, Simpson’s ill gained notoriety and perverse celebrity virtually guarantee that the legal hammer will drop especially hard on him at the first whiff of criminal wrongdoing. There is little chance that given the savage public mood toward him and the two person truth squad of Fred Goldman and Denise Brown continually wagging the guilt finger at him that Simpson would get benefit of the doubt on any charges against him, and he, of all people, should know that.
Since the bloody and mangled bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found in the walkway of his Brentwood, California apartment a more than a decade ago, it seems that time has stood still with him. Tongues still furiously wag at the mention of the murders and at him. If a poll were taken today, a majority of the public will still rage that Simpson is a murderer who skipped away scot-free, and that the trial and his acquittal were a farce and a blatant travesty of justice. But there are also some who would contend that Simpson was victimized by a biased criminal justice system and the verdict to acquit was a just one.
Simpson didn't invent or originate this sometimes ugly divide in public opinion about celebrity guilt. It has always lurked just beneath the surface. But his case propelled it to the front of public debate and anger. The horde of Simpson media commentators, legal experts and politicians that branded the legal system corrupt and compromised also fueled public belief that justice is for sale. Simpson's acquittal seemed to confirm that the rich, famous and powerful have the deep pockets to hire a small army of high priced, high profile attorneys, expert witnesses, experts, and investigators that routinely mangle the legal system to stall, delay, and drag out their cases, and eventually allow their well-heeled clients to weasel out of punishment. Even when prosecutors manage to win convictions of or guilty pleas from celebrities, their money, fame, power, and legal twisting often guarantee that they will get a hand slap jail sentence, if that.
Whether the police did indeed as Simpson claims rush to judgment and grossly overcharged him, and he eventually stands trial, the chatter from most will be that a killer is finally getting at least some of his due. Others will say that even Simpson can be a victim of a vindictive and unforgiving criminal justice system. The truth as always may lie somewhere between the two views. In any case, Simpson will do his best to make sure that a public that believes that everything he says is a lie believes that even he can be falsely accused. A second non-trial of the century, anyone?

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation between African-Americans and Hispanics (Middle Passage Press and Hispanic Economics New York) in English and Spanish will be out in October.


Anonymous said...

O.J. is a marked man and he will be watched very closely for the rest of his. But unfortunately, since his trial, it seems that he hasn't learned his lesson and he STILL continues to attract negative attention to himself. So it goes without saying I don't give a nappy sheep's behind if the police won't rush to come to his defense about something. People are sick of playing games with him. And whether he stole some valuable sports items or not, there's far greater issues that need our attention such as the Jena 6.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. He was a great football player and nothing can ever take that away or change his stats. There is nothing worth jeapordizing a man's freedom. Especially when he has a retirement plan paying him $25,000 per month.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that O.J. meant to get caught, and that this whole thing is just promo for his book. He clearly wants attention. And here we are, giving it to him.

Anonymous said...

They have audio tape from the actual incident. You can hear Simpson and others shouting profanity and telling whoever to get against the wall, etc. My question is, how in the hell did they get the tape, and why were they taping that in the first place, like they knew he was coming or something. Anyway, enough about that, on to more pressing issues, like Jena 6 situation.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, if anyone wants to listen to the audio go to From there you should be able to navigate and find it.

Anonymous said...

O.J. may or may not be dirty but he is certainly stupid.

That said, I'm hopeful that his attorneys are smart enough to ask for a trial by judge. No way does this man get a fair trial by jury.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a flying fu#$%. Our economy is a house of cards and Bush and his oil and defense buddies are robbing us blind - and all the media can do is jerk-off over OJ . What a fu#$%ing travesty - I turn the channel as soon as I hear the name OJ .

Anonymous said...

This case is not abour OJ in las vegas and stealing. This trial seems to be focused on OJ getting away with murder coommitted years ago and a way to get him back for what he did. I am not here saying that OJ didnt have anything to do with Nicoles death. Im here saying he was not found guilty and he was set free. This whole thing is a set up. People are saying that his voice ,his words on the tape were "frightening" "scary", he sounded like a killer. Pls get over yourselves people. I know a lot of people who sound like that if they were really pissed. Using profanity is not a special priviledge.He was pissed and hurt. THats how a lot of people will sound like when they are pissed and hurt. Again, the issue about him having a smug look in his mug shot is just crazy. Should he be crying? Or depressed?. He took a picture that sent a message..."im not going to have the look of defeat just to satisfy you people who hate me, i hope you like this shot!". As much as im not a fan of OJ, i am enraged by all this media attention and the fact that this is an obvious setup he wlked right into. May God help him because he needs prayers right now.

Eric L. Wattree said...

Wow! You were right on the money with this one, Hutch. The Jena case is showing exactly what's happening with these so-called civil rights leaders. They're doing what they always do--Talkin' loud and payin' nothin'.

They did the very same thing during The Million Man March. If we assume that the average person spent about $300 a piece to go to Washington D.C., that amounts to 300 million dollars. Can you imagine what we could have done in the Black community with 300 million dollars?!!! But we simply blew it on a stroll through the park, and the opportunity to listen to a lot of blow-hards telling lies that they knew they weren't going to keep.

They always say it's for us, and it always ends up being about them. The Million Man March was supposed to be about us, but it was actually a political ploy to demonstrate that the organizers had the clot to generate a million votes.

Eric Wattree