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Witness Wants Out Of Simpson ‘Game Show’

Sat., April 29, 1995

A man who claims he witnessed racist behavior by a key detective in the O.J. Simpson case said Friday he’s backing out of testifying at Simpson’s murder trial to spare himself the humiliation of being savaged on the stand.

Phill Coleman said friends and relatives have urged him not to subject himself to the “broiling” other witnesses have endured.

“They’re concerned about my credibility,” the black former retailer said. “Why do it? Why walk in there and be decimated for no other purpose than entertainment?

Coleman sent a letter to defense counsel Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. asking that his name be removed from the witness list. He said he believes the trial has become “something akin to a real-life TV game show” and he wants no part of it.

Coleman, 45, said he stands by his earlier statements about police Detective Mark Fuhrman’s allegedly racist behavior a decade ago at a Marine recruiting center located in a mini-mall where Coleman operated a sportswear shop.

Coleman earlier told the AP about a racially charged encounter in which Fuhrman behaved like a “white boy who didn’t like black men hanging out with white women.”

No testimony was held in Simpson’s trial Friday.

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