Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reaction to Verdict Is Racial Survey Shows Whites Are Most to Agree

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reaction to Verdict Is Racial Survey Shows Whites Are Most to Agree

Article excerpt

Once again the nation held its breath and waited for a verdict on O.J. Simpson.

And once again reaction seemed to come along starkly racial lines: a black verdict and a white verdict, in the public's mind and in the courtroom. Simpson was acquitted 16 months ago by a mostly black jury of murdering his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, and he was found financially liable Tuesday by a mostly white jury and ordered to pay $8.5 million in compensatory damages.

An ABC telephone poll conducted for "Nightline" after the verdicts were announced found that of the 66 percent who agreed with the jury's decision, 74 percent were white and 23 percent were black. At Mezzaluna, the restaurant in Los Angeles where Nicole Simpson ate her last meal and Goldman worked as a waiter, shouts of `Yes!' and enthusiastic claps followed each finding against O.J. Simpson. "It should have happened the first time," said Vera Kaprielian, 35, a stockbroker. "Oh, thank God," said Laurie McCormick, a stockbroker who sat beside her."Now, let's get the (Simpson) kids where they belong." Reaction was bitter at Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant in Harlem, in New York. "It's a disgrace," said Rudy Battle, a construction contractor, shaking his head as he watched the verdict on a television. "No witnesses, and you're charging a man," said Battle, who is black. "No witnesses. This is sick. No witnesses, not even one." Said bartender Julian Williams, 23, who is also black: "It's a lack of consistency. He was acquitted for the murder. How can they find him innocent of murder and liable?" Brad Mizelle, 44, a white man visiting the restaurant from Kingston, N.C., said: "I feel like the families deserve some compensation. I don't like the fact it was ever made racial." But at a Winchell's doughnut shop in South Central Los Angeles, James Williams, 73, said the case was about race from the start. …

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