October 3, 1995
Web posted at: 6:00 p.m. EDT
From Justice Department Correspondent Terry Frieden
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Justice Department plans to investigate allegations of police misconduct raised in the O.J. Simpson trial, according to a spokesman.
Myon Marlin said the department will take "all appropriate steps" to look into the complaints. "Now that the Simpson trial is over we can proceed to evaluate all available evidence and conduct future investigations as warranted," he said. "We take such allegations seriously."
The head of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP and Congresswoman Maxine Waters had asked for an investigation more than a month ago, when the audio tapes of former Los Angeles Police detective Mark Fuhrman first surfaced. Fuhrman repeatedly uses racial slurs and describes instances of police misconduct on the tapes.
The Justice Department has authority under federal civil rights laws to prosecute cases of police misconduct. In addition, last year's crime bill signed into law by President Clinton gives the attorney general authority to prosecute "pattern or practice" misconduct by law enforcement officials.
Kathleen Bell, the first defense witness to say she heard Fuhrman use racial slurs, burst into tears when the verdict was read, according to CNN's Bob Vito.
"I just feel awful, and I hope that what I said didn't have to do with their decision," she said later in a live interview with CNN. "I think hearing the Goldman family crying is very difficult." she added.
However, Bell said if she had to do it over again, she would again come forward with the information she had about Fuhrman.
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