Saying it was time to quit blaming the Los Angeles Police Department for “all the social ills of the world,” Chief Willie Williams has urged his 8,400-person force to “hang in there” and continue its quiet heroics in the wake of the not guilty verdicts in the O.J. Simpson case.
In a 5-1/2-minute videotaped pep talk shown to police shifts beginning late Friday, Williams maintained that none of the jurors ever “seriously believed that any of the men and women of the LAPD conspired during those early hours to frame Mr. Simpson.”
“No evidence has ever been shown that robbery-homicide, West LA (division) and SID (crime lab) and many others conspired to plant blood, to plant other evidence, to plant a glove - all the things that the entire Simpson defense team raised during the past 15 months,” said Williams. “And I wish someone in the media would finally bring that out.”
The chief also said that the work of the department’s robbery-homicide division in the case was “outstanding overall.”
The chief’s remarks were recorded within 24 hours of the verdicts. Since then, three jurors - Brenda Moran, Lionel “Lon” Cryer and Gina Rossborough - have either hinted at or said they believed the bloody glove was planted at Simpson’s Rockingham Avenue home. Cryer also faulted police evidence gathering in the highly publicized case: “It was garbage in, garbage out.”
In his videotape, Williams called on police officers to accept the verdict and “somehow to get your, my morale back up to where it should be.”
Williams promised to call on local and national leaders, in and out of police work, to rally around the force and “come here to Los Angeles and say ‘Don’t beat up and don’t dump on the LAPD.’ If we have problems, we’ll correct them. But don’t blame us for the strengths and don’t blame us for the weaknesses of society.”
“Just as the force is being asked to change,” he added, “so must our city, so must the residents of our state and so must the people of our community.”
Williams once again repudiated the racist comments of former Detective Mark Fuhrman, whose taped remarks peppered with racial epithets and boasts about harassing or framing black suspects reverberated out of the Simpson courtroom and shocked America.
Fuhrman’s remarks, Williams said, were proof the police force isn’t perfect.
Yet he stressed that Fuhrman’s sentiments “are not reflective of the vast majority of men and women at LAPD, their views, their past actions or their current actions. And it’s time for others to stand up and say so.”