Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dr. Conrad Murray: Patsy or Perpetrator? Pt. 1

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Dr. Conrad Murray did two things the fateful day that the King of Pop died. He rushed to the hospital with paramedics in the fawn hope of saving Jackson. And he rushed to get an attorney. Murray knew that there would be questions, lots of questions, about what did he know, when did he know it, and what did he do or not do to save Michael Jackson. These are questions that well could eventually land Murray in a court room docket. Investigators made no secret that they raided Murray’s Houston office and Las Vegas home and office to find evidence that might bolster a manslaughter charge against the doctor. That’s the reason Murray rushed to an attorney’s office. L.A. County District Attorney, LAPD Robbery-Homicide, The Drug Enforcement Administration, and the California Attorney General are investigating Jackson’s death.

Murray’s possible legal woes pose another question and dilemma. From the porous leaks from the investigations, Murray may not be the only culprit in Jackson’s demise. There are five other doctors who investigators are taking a hard look at to see just what they either gave Jackson or whether they aided and abetted him in obtaining either over or under the table. If Jackson was addicted to the assorted pain killer drugs, there were others that helped him in his drug induced downhill slide.

They shouldn’t be hard to track down since all California doctors and pharmacies are required to report to the California Department of Justice every prescription written for any drug that has high risk potential. The drug that Jackson took certainly fit that category. Though home use of the suspect drug Propofol that Jackson reportedly took to get to sleep is rare, there’s no law that prohibits it. Yet, in almost all cases a doctor must be present to inject a patient with the drug.
So once the doctors who were complicit in Jackson’s addiction are named, the logical question then is why is the only legal finger solely pointed at Murray? Is it pointed at him only because he is strongly suspected of being the perpetrator of Jackson’s end? Or is Murray the ideal patsy to take the fall for Jackson’s death. He’s probably both.

The instant that Murray’s name leaked as Jackson’s last doctor of record, the finger of blame quickly was rammed in his face. He’s been pilloried on scores of websites and in chat rooms as “Michael’s Killer.” His training at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, one of the oldest and most renowned black medical training facilities in Nashville, Tennessee, his internships, his years of experience and work as a cardiologist, and the stack of liens and lawsuits against him were all now fair game for attack. In the public’s mind, Murray was a shady, incompetent, money grubbing doctor. And he is African-American. This added a special venom to the public assault on Murray. In a Google search of various print and blog sites, this writer found a barrage of outlandish, and provocative racist slurs of Murray. So outrageous that some editors implored readers not to make racially charged references to Murray and Jackson’s death.

Murray read the tea leaves and saw that the sentiment was overwhelming that an African-American doctor with a checkered history and publicly reviled as the man who killed Jackson had better move fast and say and do as little as possible and assemble a crack legal team around him. He would need it.

With so much clamor to pin the blame for Jackson’s death on someone, the someone being Murray, a prosecution seemed inevitable. Now that that possibility looms larger by the day, there’s little chance that a Murray prosecution will draw the kind of racial line in the sand that has been drawn when African-American notables are charged with crimes or harangued for bad behavior. Jackson was just too universally loved by African-Americans, and indeed by fans across all racial lines, for that to happen. There was the strong and early hint by Jesse Jackson that Jackson may have been the victim of foul play. The outspoken rage from Jackson family members that backed Jesse Jackson’s charge up has insured that Murray’s circle of defenders will not likely include many African-Americans.

The gnawing question, though, still stands. And that’s since so many other doctors were involved in Jackson’s grotesque descent into fatal drug dependency should Murray be the only one of them to take the fall? This is not to absolve Murray of wrongdoing. If he did what prosecutors may charge him with than he should and must pay the price? He’ll just carry two crushing burdens when he does; that of patsy and perpetrator in the death of the Pop King.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His weekly radio show, “The Hutchinson Report” can be heard weekly in Los Angeles Fridays on KTYM Radio 1460 AM and live streamed nationally on ktym.com