“THE PEOPLE SPEAK”
“A Search for the Truth - the story of the story”
The Public vs. Orenthal James Simpson
A Manuscript for a Book by
Patricia Bebe McGarry
In 1995 I went to visit the OJ Simpson trial on a “lark,” and wound up staying for 7 months.
As a “Commoner” I owed no one anything-no news deadline to meet, no TV coverage to give, no “reputation” to protect. Like a documentary filmmaker, I observed all of the action both outside and inside the courtroom. Everyone came through my lens from Nicole’s mother in the elevator saying, “I don’t see how you can stand to come down here every day,” to “Big Money” laying out his posters in front of the court house about the “rape of the black man”.
The day the verdict came in and a ROAR was heard outside the courthouse, I was not surprised. The press poured out of the courtroom in shock, but I’d been in the trenches and heard what a huge number of blacks felt about the LAPD and the trial of OJ. OJ went one on one up against the LAPD and the best the prosecution had to offer and he won. It was a win not just for OJ, but for so many black people who had been treated unfairly by the system. As everyone discussed the verdict, I had a neighbor over that night who didn’t want his name used but he wanted his opinion heard!
“Notes From A Commoner” is not one of the hundreds of legal opinions on the Trial of the Century. Instead, it is a personal account of what it felt like to observe this most unusual phenomenon-fame, power, and money all converging at Temple Street, Los Angeles for the double murder trial of OJ Simpson. The “Public” State of California was there to convict OJ Simpson, African American football legend and celebrity, of the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, both white. OJ Simpson is African American and Nicole Brown Simpson is white.
I did what no other reporter did. I mixed with the hundreds of people who came down to the trial hoping to get in. I mixed with blacks and whites and got their opinions. I knew the “regulars” who came to the trial everyday, the reporters, the families, the writer Joe Bosco, the sheriff’s and cameramen. I talked to everyone. In the courtroom I wrote about the “play” that was going on, Marcia’s antics and the juries power moves. I wrote about the 80% of communication that is non-verbal. For example, Marcia arrived late every day in her short, tight, suits that showed off her dancer’s legs while the attorneys for the prosecution and defense were in their seats.
Patricia at the trial in 1995
Simpson hugged by Cochran upon verdict
Banners outside the trial in Temple Street, Los Angeles 1995