Was glove just part of racist plot? Weird, but not impossible

July 20, 1994|By MIKE LITTWIN

At first blush, it sounds like the ultimate American racial paranoid fantasy.

And maybe that's all it is. But maybe not.

Here's the scenario. A white cop -- you saw him on TV; he looks exactly like the macho detective on every cop show ever filmed -- plants the bloody glove (yes, that bloody glove) on the grounds at O. J. Simpson's estate in order to implicate a black celebrity in a bloody double murder.

Certainly, Mark Fuhrman, the white cop in question, had opportunity.

Who can forget his story? He climbs the fence to the Simpson estate (without a warrant) and finds the bloody glove (without a warrant) and suddenly remembers (without a warrant) there was a similar glove at the murder scene. Remember what he said on the stand -- how he experienced that rush of adrenalin?

But maybe he didn't "find" the glove. Maybe he put it there. Apparently, that's what the Simpson defense team is going to suggest to the jury at the coming trial.

The first question I ask myself is: Why would Fuhrman possibly plant the glove?

According to a story in the New Yorker, Simpson's lawyers have come up with a couple of possible motives.

One, he gets to be a star. As of now, he's a bigger star than Kato.

Two -- this is the one that may stick -- he's a racist.

It always comes back to race, doesn't it? Here's the white cop who hates blacks who can pin the crime of the century on a black hero and so he drops the glove on O. J.'s property and . . . wait, let's think about this for a minute.

Fuhrman was not the first cop to arrive at the murder scene. For the scenario to work, he had to pick up a matching glove at Nicole Simpson's home, a glove nobody else at the site had seen, and slip it into his pocket in front of about a million other cops. And in that instant, he had to think, "Hey, I can frame O. J. Simpson with this glove."

It's a conspiracy theory spiced with the all-white-cops-are-racists syndrome. How paranoid can you get?

Well, try reading excerpts from documents of a 1983 police hearing first, and then see what you think.

It was in '83 that Fuhrman tried to obtain a disability pension from the L.A.P.D., claiming that working in minority neighborhoods had made him violent and unstable. He told psychologists some fairly weird things about himself.

For instance, he said he had quit the Marines, whom he left in 1975 to become a cop, because he "got tired of having a bunch of Mexicans and niggers that should be in prison telling [him] they weren't going to do something."

He claimed, as a cop, to have broken the elbows and knees of a man who had spit on him and that he had to be violent "just to exist."

Try this quote from Fuhrman: "If you only knew what it feels like when some guy's doin' something, acting cool, thinking no one sees him, and you come up and put a shotgun to his head."

The L.A.P.D. concluded that Fuhrman was faking his psychological problems, and he lost his case.

That leaves us three possible conclusions: He's a liar, he's a hater, he's both.

The Los Angeles Times has also reported that Fuhrman is being investigated for sexual harassment and that he belongs to an informal police group called Men Against Women. These guys apparently don't approve of women cops.

So. How do you feel about Fuhrman's testimony now? Wait till the lawyers get through with him.

It's a funny thing. Race has been a subtext of this trial all along. A majority of whites believe Simpson is guilty. A majority of African-Americans think he's innocent.

Also, many blacks feel that there wouldn't be nearly the interest in this case if Nicole Simpson hadn't been white.

The race issue has been there all along, and now this. There are racist cops, like there are racist teachers and doctors and everything else. We all know that. There was a Rodney King. And when a Jesse Chapman dies in police custody, there are people who want to believe the cops killed him. Paranoia? I guess it all depends on your own perspective on reality.

It's probably no accident that the Simpson defense strategy was pTC leaked to the press. The scenario is just the kind of clumsy movie-of-the-week plotting -- racist, rogue cop gone bad -- with which we're all familiar.

It's unbelievable, of course. But which part of this story isn't?

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