After the Mark Fuhrman tape was revealed on tonight’s episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson, I probably would have given Simpson a “not guilty” vote, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that Simpson is, in fact, guilty.
But what the show proved tonight is that the case was bogged down by so many race issues that got so muddled between the defense and prosecution that they really should have called for a mistrial. But because none of that happened and the prosecution failed to prove Simpson killed Nicole Simpson with enough solid evidence, the jury had no choice but to put in a “not-guilty” verdict.
It’s important to note, I was only about 7 years old when the actual Simpson trial was going on some 20 years ago. I have vague memories of the case that plagued the country. Even in my child brain, I thought Simpson was guilty. But watching American Crime Story has opened the case up and given it an entirely new light (much in the same way shows like Making a Murderer and Serial have done for their respective cases).
The big takeaway for me thus far has been that it’s easy to point fingers at Simpson and wonder how a jury could ever exonerate him. The greater challenge — which the show has conquered so well — is showing the bigger picture of the trial that is so much more poignant than simple guilt or innocence. It was about race issues. It was about the flaws in our justice system. It was about the media frenzy. And it was about ignorance.
And that ignorance from people directly involved in the case, especially, and maybe most important, Fuhrman as we saw tonight, meant justice in this case was about more than a man’s guilt or innocence. Justice happened when the country woke up and paid attention.
Unfortunately, I can’t say justice was served. Because while the nation watched, the case didn’t effect the change it could and should have. Trial, lawmaker and police corruption is still rampant. Simpson walked. And the Simpson trial gave way to the evolution of Twitter, where there is a 140-character scandal every other day.
The upside to this is the education the show provides. Yes, I know not everything in the series is 100 percent factual. But mostly, the series does a spot-on job. Enough so that I feel confident saying people should take note to ensure that a trial like this never happens again.
How would you have voted as a juror in the O.J. Simpson trial after watching American Crime Story Season 1?
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