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Race and Justice: Rodney King and O.J. Simpson in a House Divided

NCJ Number
J T Gibbs
Date Published
366 pages
This analysis of the trials of O.J. Simpson and the police officers tried for beating Rodney King emphasizes how the race issue was central to both of these cases and how the verdicts were virtually predictable given the racial compositions of the juries and their different experiences with the police.
The author is a psychologist and scholar. The discussion reviews the events involved in these two trials and examines them from a social and political framework. It notes that King and Simpson were two apparently dissimilar men, but that they came from relatively similar backgrounds. The jury in the Rodney King trial watched the video that showed four Los Angeles police officers beating King; they decided that three of the four police officers were not guilty of using excessive force. The other jury considered what many regarded to be overwhelming DNA and other evidence against Simpson and decided that he was not guilty of the murder of his former wife and Ron Goldman. The discussion focuses on the history of black people's experiences in the Untied States and the pervasiveness of racism in the Los Angeles criminal justice system. It concludes that a double standard of justice exists and suggests actions to ensure justice for all. Chapter reference notes and index (Publisher summary modified)