America's Race Relations Damaged by Travesty of Justice

Article excerpt

The acquittal of O.J. Simpson for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman ranks as one of the biggest travesties in the history of American jurisprudence. Money does buy justice, no matter what one's race or ethnicity.

The facts presented in the case pointed to Simpson and only Simpson as the killer. But defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, a man who succeeded in race-baiting at least as well as former Alabama Gov. George Wallace once did, got him off. He and the other lawyers certainly earned their fees.

The mistakes in this case were made early, before the racism of Mark Fuhrman was revealed, before evidence was presented. When Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti collapsed under pressure from civil rights activists to promise a jury composed substantially of blacks, the die was cast.

Garcetti allowed himself to be intimidated by the riots that followed the arrest of Rodney King and his videotaped beating. In Washington, D.C., a mostly black city, white defendants don't have the luxury of demanding white jurors - nor should they.

Does this mean that blacks cannot make decisions based on facts, but will always be swayed by appeals to racism? Of course not. But for those predisposed to such feelings, the Simpson verdict will provide substantial fuel for the racial fires.

This was not a victory for better race relations in this country. The feelings of many whites might best be summed up by a Chicago hot-dog salesman quoted in Time magazine. Larry Miller said: "If white people yell racism, we're bigots. If a black person yells it, it has to be true. I've never known racism to be an excuse for murder."

After the announcement of the verdict, Fred Goldman, Ron's father, said, "This country lost today. Justice was not served."

But the great god of commercialism was served. Watch for the book contracts, the movies, the paid interviews on tabloid television and the networks (the difference is getting harder to sort out). …