Sunday, April 10

Tammy Bruce:Defiling the Dead

Tammy Bruce
Well, following my speaking On Air to Air America's Laura Flanders on KTLK 1150 AM last week about focusing on Positive Change for the Democratic Party. This week I had a chance to talk with KABC's Tammy Bruce Onair. The subject was the recent funeral of Johnnie L. Cochran. Bruce, who professes to be a Democrat, although KABC's "All Conservative Talk" format was quite obvious, was calling Cochran a "despicable, terrible human being" who would certainly "burn" for his deeds. What did he do to generate such ire? He won the O.J. Case and he dared to defend that obvious "pedophile" Michael Jackson.

Even if people disagree about OJ, lets at least all agree that Jackson has yet to be convicted of anything - and I suspect he won't be if the prosecution continues trotting out all these questionable and impeachable witnesses McMartin-Buckey style. Bruce railed at Jackson, she railed at O.J. for being "obviously guilty", at Cochran for daring to perform his sworn duty to defend his client to the best of his ability, at Al Sharpton who spoke at the funeral and stated that people cheered at the O.J. verdict not because of O.J., but because of Johnnie, and at L.A. mayor James Hahn who stated that "[Cochran] didn't just love justice or admire justice, he did justice, he achieved justice, he fought for justice"

When I spoke to Bruce, I pointed out that I understood how many people felt about the O.J. case - however, I felt that it was completely unfair to judge Cochran's life based on the one case - or one phrase "If it doesn't fit - you must acquit". (Never mind Dennis Fung's bumbling performance on the stand. Never mind the questionable exisgent circumstances used to enter O.J. premises without a search warrant. Never mind the testimony of one of the DNA experts that "False Positives" matches as a result of contamination were not only possible, but had occured at her own lab - which was one of several used to process the OJ samples - and that they would never have known that the matches were false if not for the fact that the samples processed were part of a test and the original sources where already known). The job of the DA is to do his best, it's not to become the judge and jury and decide if his client deserves his best or not. What I mentioned to Bruce was Cochrans many other clients - such as Ron Settles (a teen football star who was strangled to death by Signal Hill PD) , Geronimo Pratt (a former black panther who spent over 20 years behind bars for a murder, although the FBI had wiretap evidence that he was 400 miles away in Oakland at the time) Reginal Denny (the hapless truck driver who was pummelled on the corner in Florence and Normandie at the start of the Rodney King riots), and Leonard Deadwyler (a young black man shot to death by police after behing pulled over while speeding his pregnant wife to the hospital).

I'm not sure exactly where she cut me off and put me on hold permenently - probably right after I mentioned the name Reginal Denny - but her response to my point was still interesting. She claimed that "people who do wrong things sometimes turn around later - out of guilt - and do positive things to make up for it". That may be true, but all of these cases took place before the OJ. trial in 1994, and Cochran became "Defense attorney to the STARS" and began regularly pulling in cases like the P-Diddy nightclub shooting.

In the late 70's Johnnie Cochran was invited by then Los Angeles District Attorney John Van DeKamp to rejoin the office (he had started his carreer as an assistant DA in the late 60's) and head up a special office on police curruption with then up and coming ADA Gil Garcetti. Cochran was essentially the number two man in the entire office. Marsha Clarke's boss during the O.J. trial used to be one of Cochran's assistants.

On the day after his death, Marsha and Chris Darden were extremely gracious in their comments about Johnnie during an episode of Larry King on CNN. They had become good friends over the intervening years. Marsha almost came to tears. If Darden and Clarke can find a way to put their crushing defeat against Cochran behind them - then so should the rest of us. Many people remember the OJ trail with bitterness, but when they think of Johhnie they should also think of what he did for Ron Settles, Geronimo Pratt, Leonard Deadwyler, Reginald Denny and many countless others. I do.

Biography of Johnny Cochran.


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