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Mark Fuhrman

Mark Fuhrman
Mark Fuhrman
Home BaseSandpoint, ID
Published ByOPP HQ
Published On13 March 2004

If there is anything that stands out more as an insult to us as a people, it is how the media in recent years has done a huge whitewash of ex-LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman. He has written three books, one of them the basis of a TV movie, is a radio talk-shit host, and is currently on the Faux News Channel as a law enforcement "expert" they put on television to discuss crime matters from time to time. Now we cannot discount the fact that he was a seasoned veteran of law enforcement with a lot of knowledge to offer. Unlike the folks that prop him up today, we also cannot discount the fact that he is a disgraced member of law enforcement that has zero credibility in the end because he could not uphold the law he swore to protect.

Were this someone that conservatives did not see as a comrade, his dirt would be all over the place, and they would never give any chance for redemption. Fuhrman, however was someone called out for being a racist, a charge that anyone wanting to defend him found hard to do in light of the evidence. Instead, those defenders did the next best thing. They rode out the storm, ignored talking about the charge, and when all was "forgotten", prop him up as a hero of some sort. Before they completely whitewash this guy, we figured a Gallery entry needed to be done on him to remind people exactly why he can never be a police officer ever again.

Fuhrman worked in the homicide department and in 1994, he found himself a major player in the OJ Simpson trial. It was he who found the infamous "bloody glove" on Simpson's property. Before this he was a celebrated police detective, receiving more than 55 official commendations during his 20 years with the LAPD, and was seen quite often on television speaking on various cases.

He was not looked upon so favorably in the black and Hispanic communities, however. Many residents from those areas of Los Angeles were also familiar with him and had spoke of him being a bad cop who is known for framing suspects. In 1983 the volatile Fuhrman was interviewed by Dr. Ira Brent in lieu of a disability claim for work-related stress. Mark Fuhrman (alternately spelled Fuhrmann by one supermarket tabloid) confided to Brent that he beat up on suspects, and that he blacked out and became a wild man. In 1984, Fuhrman stopped a young black man named Jarvis Bowers for jaywalking, put him in a choke hold and threatened his life. This happened in front of a movie theater in a predominately white area with plenty of witnesses. This stunt cost Fuhrman a day's pay.

Police Watch, a non-profit citizen advocacy group in Los Angeles, had received five complaints against Fuhrman since 1988.

   "I work with these files every day," says Police Watch official Michael Salcido, "and I personally handled over a thousand intakes a year and I know no other officer that has five counts against him"

With this history, Simpson's lawyer F. Lee Bailey set out to portray detective Mark Fuhrman as a racist cop who planted a bloody glove on O.J. Simpson's property in order to advance his career. He had as a witness a woman named Kathleen Bell, who in 1994 sent him this letter:

   "I'm writing to you in regards to a story I saw on the news last night. I thought it ridiculous that the Simpson defense team would even suggest that their (sic) might be racial motivation involved in the trial against Mr. Simpson. I then glanced up at the television and was quite shocked to see that Officer Ferman (sic) was a man that I had the misfortune of meeting. You may have received a message from your answering service last night that I called to say that Mr. Ferman may be more of a racist than you could even imagine.
   Between 1985 and 1986, I worked as a real estate agent in Redondo Beach for Century 21 Bob Maher Realty (now out of business). At the time, my office was located above a Marine recruiting center off of Pacific Coast Highway. On occasion I would stop in to say hello to the two Marines working there. I saw Mr. Ferman there a couple of times. I remember him distinctly because of his height and build.
    While speaking to the men I learned that Mr. Ferman was a police officer in Westwood, and I don't know if he was telling the truth, but he said that he had been in a special division of the Marines. I don't know how the subject was raised, but Officer Ferman said that when he sees a "nigger" (as he called it) driving with a white woman, he would pull them over. I asked would if he didn't have a reason, and he said that he would find one. I looked at the two Marines to see if they knew he was joking, but it became obvious to me that he was very serious.
   Officer Ferman went on to say that he would like nothing more than to see all "niggers" gathered together and killed. He said something about burning them or bombing them. I was too shaken to remember the exact words he used, however, I do remember that what he said was probably the most horrible thing I had ever heard someone say. What frightened me even more was that he was a police officer.
   I am almost certain that I called the LAPD to complain about Officer Mark Ferman, yet I did not know his last name at the time. I would think that the LAPD has some record of this.
   Now that I know Mr. Ferman was the investigating officer, I must suggest that you check into his background further. I am certainly not a fan of Mr. Simpson, but I would hate to see anyone harmed by Officer Ferman's extreme hatred."

On March 9, 1995, Fuhrman testified he never met Kathleen Bell. A few days later, Bailey said he had another witness, Marine Sgt. Max Cordoba would testify that Fuhrman uttered the racial slur at a Marine recruiting office in 1985. On March 14, Ito ruled defense can cross-exam Fuhrman on this and other new allegations of racism. The next day, under cross-examination from Bailey, Fuhrman testified he had not used the word "nigger" in the last ten years and branded anyone who says he had used the word a liar.

At first the denials of race being an issue was laughed off by Marcia Clark and the usual conservative suspects. Then came the infamous tapes. Fuhrman gave a taped interview in 1985 to Laura McKinney, an aspiring screenwriter working on a screenplay about female police officers. Fuhrman, sought out as a consultant, bragged about his membership in the secret organization within the LAPD known as MAW, or Men Against Women. In further interviews, Fuhrman bragged about beating and torturing gang members, "we had them begging that they'd never be gang members again, begging us." Fuhrman's negative attitude toward African-Americans was also evident in the taped interview. He said that he would tell blacks,

   "You do what you're told, understand, nigger?"

Bailey did not even know those tapes existed when he first levied the charge against Fuhrman. In the end those tapes damned the detective. He was called again to testify that he used the word "nigger", only this time, knowing it meant he perjured himself, he pled the fifth. It brought immediate world-wide condemnation. Even the prosecution denounced Fuhrman in their closing arguments, calling him a "bad cop." And a racist. In the end OJ Simpson would be acquitted. When the verdict clearing him was read, a crowd chanted "LAPD Guilty!"

It wasn't over for Fuhrman though. Now he had to answer a felony charge of perjury. He ended up pleading no contest, and received three years probation. He can no longer carry a gun or hold public office. He also could not be a cop anymore. Contrary to what many believe however, Fuhrman wasn't fired by the LAPD. He resigned, which meant he got his police pension. Meanwhile the Justice Department initiated a review of allegations in 1995 against Fuhrman that came about when suspects Fuhrman arrested noticed that his descriptions of incidents on those tapes were similar to their own cases, and could be a possible case of brutality against him. Three years later, federal prosecutors determined that the five-year statute of limitations had long passed in relation to the allegations against Fuhrman and decided not to prosecute him. It was never determined that the charges against him were untrue, just that they could not do anything about them.

After the trial, Fuhrman apologized "from the bottom of [his] heart" that he had used racist terms and denied ever having been a racist. Fuhrman was uncomfortable with the attention the trial brought to him and wished things had been different. "I want my private life back and I'm never going to have it." Denying having ever planted evidence, Fuhrman stated, "there was never a shred, never a hint, never a possibility--not a remote, not a million--, not a billion-to-one possibility--I could have planted anything. Nor would I have a reason to." What he did after he was canned didn't help matters much though.

After his ouster, he and his family then moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, which has been called a resort town and a favorite place among ex-LAPD officers to retire, so much so that it is said among locals that the LAPD runs the county. This has always been a source of curious irony to us because it is best known as a breeding ground for white supremacists! Sandpoint is where Dave Barley's America's Promise Ministries sets up shop. In 1996, around the time Fuhrman moved there, three of Barley's people went to nearby Washington State, robbed the same bank twice and bombed a newspaper plant and a Planned Parenthood clinic there.

In 1995, Carl Story and Vincent Bertollini brought their racist group 11th Hour Remnant Messenger to town, saying they preferred the living in this town of 6,000 because as Bertollini said, "more than 98 percent of North Idaho's population is of the Adamic White Aryan people." Sandpoint is also about 40 miles from the former headquarters of Aryan Nations in Hayden Lake, Idaho Bertollini has been Aryan Nations founder Dick Butler's leading financial supporter and public champion and both of them have financially supported America's Promise Ministries. When asked about moving here in an interview with Salon.com, Fuhrman, who took a job as an electrician's apprentice upon moving to Sandpoint, said that people attempting to suggest he was moving here for all of this was talking out of ignorance.

   "Every media person that's come up here has thanked me for moving here so that they could spend time here."

Unfortunately for him, among those that would suggest the move was based along those lines was Dick Butler himself.

   "He has to be a racist, or he'd stay in Los Angeles." He said at the time. "It's hypocritical for them to say they come up here for the birds and bees and trees. If this area was all non-white, you wouldn't find a police officer within a hundred miles of here."

Conservatives who were licking their wounds in 1995 after not just the Fuhrman tapes and the Simpson acquittal, but also the Oklahoma City bombing where many looked at them as being the catalyst for that tragedy, were able to throw their comrade-in-arms a life line after the fervor died down. In 1997 right-wing Regency Press published his first book Murder in Brentwood, and it shot to the top of every bestseller list. At this time Joan Rivers had a radio program on WOR-AM radio in New York City, and she gave him one of his first interviews. It was a call-in program, and Fuhrman fielded questions from the audience - about his book and OJ Simpson. Anyone who questioned his credibility or suggest that he was a racist was cut off by Rivers who said they were not there to talk about that. Remember, this was one of the first interviews since the OJ Trial. It was also when the Rogues' Gallery debuted, and Joan briefly had an entry at that time for this stunt. We deleted her after she lost the gig.

Fuhrman went on to write Murder in Greenwich, which was about the murder of fifteen-year-old Martha Moxley, who was bludgeoned with a golf club on the grounds of her family's exclusive Greenwich, Connecticut, estate on October 30, 1975. This book garnered interest in the case again and it led to a grand jury investigation and the arrest and conviction of Richard Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedy family. This book and the next one in the "Murder in __________" series, Murder in Spokane were also best sellers and that led to invitations to appear on radio and TV shows to comment on current high-profile criminal investigations and trials.

He was also given his own radio program in Spokane, 90 minutes from his home in Sandpoint. There was also a TV movie based on Murder in Greenwich starring Christopher Meloni (Oz, Law and Order SVU) as Fuhrman. It was written by Dominick Dunne, who was also quite pissed that OJ was acquitted. That, in a nutshell is where the bulk of Fuhrman's support comes from, people still angry that the OJ Trial did not go as they wished, and in some cases had used the case to further their contempt for African Americans. Fuhrman satisfies both camps, and it is no wonder that he is getting such a whitewash today.

   "It was his second book that turned him from the most hated man at the O.J. trial - back to the hero investigator he once was," Linda Stasi wrote in the notoriously racist newspaper New York Post (surprise, surprise).
Fuhrman, right , with his good friend Sean Hannity.
Fuhrman, right , with his good friend Sean Hannity.

Sadly Fuhrman was never a hero. He was a despicable cop, and for a long time, just like so many other cops like him, he was allowed to wreck havoc on our criminal justice system, all with the support of a conservative element out there that sees fighting crime as a very effective way in fighting African Americans. Unlike other cops, Fuhrman did not keep his mouth shut, and we were able to put this one down. The conservatives who now rally in his defense the same way they cleaned up other dirty white racists like Randy Weaver, Rudy Giuliani, and Trent Lott do no one any favor, and if they want to be one with Fuhrman, they can have him. The rest of the world won't, no matter how much he tries to make himself look like a good guy.