Everyone has a moment in time that they will never forget. It could be the exact moment when you met the love of your life, the birth of a child, or where you were when JFK, MLK, or RFKwas assassinated. For me, my moment in time is when O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the double murder charges he faced back in the 90’s. I was in the cafeteria of the Foote-Hilyer building on FAMU’s campus while working in the Admissions Office.
I remember the cheers that erupted when O.J. was found not guilty. I, myself, was one that cheered the verdict. Not because I believed that he was innocent but because the American justice system proved to be what we perceived it to be, fair and just. One must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted. My own personal feelings on his guilt or innocence are ambivalent. I fully believe that the L.A.P.D. botched the case and that Marcia Clark and Chris Darden did a miserable job as prosecutors.
In one of the most racially polarizing trials of our times, the very one thing that stands out to me is that the chain of custody of O.J.’s blood was broken by the detectives working the case. For a detective to be walking around the crime scene with a vial of the defendant’s blood would have been reason enough for an immediate dismissal of the charges. However, the racial implications of the case demanded that it proceed.
I also found that the ensuing civil case that followed the criminal case was a gross representation of the American justice system. To be found guilty by a preponderance of the evidence was a slap in the face of the criminal verdict. To be forced to pay millions of dollars in a civil case after you’ve been found innocent in the criminal case needs to be closely examined. Can there be any wonder why O.J. has wound up where he is today? He has had to outmaneuver the system just to be able to feed his family and lead a resemblance of a normal life. But then again, we were never going to let him lead a normal life.
Therein lays the double standard of American jurisprudence. We didn’t like the verdict that was determined by a jury of his peers so we are going to do everything in our power to make your life miserable. Your every move will be scrutinized. You go to a restaurant that I frequent and I get up and leave in disgust as if somehow I am better than you. Somehow, being found innocent means nothing if I disagree with the verdict. So is there any wonder why O.J. is where he is today?
There is no question about the verdict rendered last Friday. Everything is captured on video tape. O.J. got what he deserved. The kidnapping charges are complete bullshit but when you bring a gun to the party you are going to do some time. How sad that one of the greatest athletes of our time could spend the rest of his life in jail.
I don’t agree with the choice that O.J. made in an attempt to recover what he thought was stolen property. I just pity him that he thought that that was what he had to do. He had to do it because, although he was found innocent of killing Nicole Simpson and Ron Brown, the American public found him guilty and thus treated him accordingly.