On October 3 1995, a jury acquitted OJ Simpson on the charges of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The trial, often dubbed “The Trial of the Century” was broadcast on television on the order of Judge Lance Ito. Although there were many opinions on the jury’s decision, one of the more significant issues about the case was the sociological and racial undertones.
The trial was by any measure, a media circus. All Americans were tuned in to the case. The trial took place in Los Angeles, where just a few years prior, there were major riots after the Rodney King beating decision. The country at the time was afraid of more unrest. The LAPD was put on 12 hour tours as the jury was out for deliberation. A hundred LAPD cops on horseback surrounded the courthouse.
At 10:07 am the jury’s verdict was read as an estimated 100 million people watched. NOT GUILTY! The reaction to the verdict was mixed and often fell on racial lines. Polling indicated that 75% of white Americans thought Simpson was guilty, while 70% of black Americans felt that he was innocent. There were no riots, but many experts felt that the trial damaged race relations in the United States. Simpson was found guilty in civil trials and later was convicted of robbery and kidnapping in an unrelated case and sent to prison for almost 9 years.