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News / Nation & World

California law bars ex-LAPD officer Mark Fuhrman, who lied at OJ Simpson trial, from policing

By STEFANIE DAZIO, Associated Press
Published: June 7, 2024, 11:38am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, 72, who was convicted of lying on the witness stand in the O.J. Simpson trial three decades ago, is now barred from law enforcement under a California police reform law meant to strip the badges of police officers who act criminally or with bias.

Fuhrman, who is white, was one of the first two police detectives sent to investigate the 1994 killings of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. The slayings and Simpson’s trial exposed divisions on race and policing in America.

Fuhrman reported finding a bloody glove at Simpson’s home but his credibility came under withering attack during the trial as the defense raised the prospect of racial bias.

Under cross-examination, Fuhrman testified that he had never made anti-Black racial slurs over the previous 10 years, but a recording made by an aspiring screenwriter showed he had done so repeatedly.

Fuhrman retired from the LAPD after Simpson’s 1995 acquittal but the decertification now means he cannot return to policing in California. The former detective was charged with perjury and pleaded no contest in 1996. He went on to become a TV and radio commentator and wrote the book “Murder in Brentwood” about the killings.

Simpson was later found liable for the deaths in a separate civil case, and then served nine years in prison on unrelated charges. He died in Las Vegas of prostate cancer in April at the age of 76.

Fuhrman declined to comment Friday when reached by phone.

“That was 30 years ago. You guys are really up to speed,” he told an Associated Press reporter.

When told that The San Francisco Chronicle had reported that his decertification became formal in May, he replied “good for them, have a nice day,” before hanging up.

The California decertification law was passed in 2021 in the wake of the 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and took effect in 2023. The law came 18 years after lawmakers stripped that power from a state police standards commission. That left it to local agencies to decide if officers should be fired, but critics said they could often simply get a job in a different department.

Online records show that the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training decertified Fuhrman on May 14 based on a government code that includes ineligibility based on a prior felony conviction. Roughly 100 officers have been decertified since 2023.

The records show Fuhrman was last employed by the LAPD in 1995. The police department did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.

The record did not specify whether Fuhrman had any convictions besides the perjury and a spokesperson for the agency said she did not have additional information available Friday.

Fuhrman’s decertification was first reported Friday by The San Francisco Chronicle.