Mark Fuhrman is a former detective of the Los Angeles Police Department and is best known for his involvement in the O.J. Simpson case. Born into a troubled family, he witnessed his parents’ divorce when he was 7 years old. He gave up a career in arts in order to become a United States marine and participated in the Vietnam War. Following his return to the U.S., he entered the police academy and ended up joining the Los Angeles Police Department. In 1989, he was promoted to the rank of detective. In 1994, he got his breakthrough case that brought him into the limelight. Former American football player O.J. Simpson was accused of the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. Mark was the detective who reached the spot first and accused Simpson of the murders, citing a blood-soaked glove found in the latter’s house as the main evidence. However, the defense team argued that it was a ploy by Mark due to his racist mindset. Simpson was acquitted of the charges, while Mark received a lot of media flak for being racist. He later retired and became a crime novel writer.
Childhood & Early Career
Mark Fuhrman was born on February 5, 1952, in Eatonville, Washington, U.S., into the middle-class family of Ralph and Billie Fuhrman. His father was a truck driver and a carpenter. Mark grew up with his brother. He had an elder brother, too, who had died of leukaemia before Mark was even born.
Mark had a strained relationship with his father. According to him, his father was an alcoholic who did not mind hurting other people when he wanted to. This also led Mark to develop some childhood scars that he carried with him in his later life. His parents also fought a lot and eventually got divorced when he was 7 years old.
His mother was a troubled woman who drank a lot. This led Mark to spend most of his childhood years in constant fear and paranoia. He also grew up as a racist man and bullied the local black people.
Following his high-school graduation, Mark Fuhrman joined the training program for the U.S. marines. Although he had aspired to become an artist, he ended up at the marine training school and was trained as a machine gunner and a military policeman. He eventually became a sergeant and participated in the Vietnam War. However, he had no actual involvement in the war and was honorably discharged in 1975.
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Mark Fuhrman returned to the U.S. and joined the Los Angeles Police Academy (LAPD). However, he remained obsessed with the military and developed a hobby of collecting medals and uniforms. He became a police officer with the LAPD in 1975.
Mark requested for workers’ compensation, and during a psychiatric interview, he claimed that it was difficult for him to continue working in the marines because many Mexican–Americans and African–Americans there exhibited reckless behavior. He was also heard using the word “niggers” in the tape.
He also attempted to quit the police force and hoped that he would receive a pension. In 1982, during a psychiatric interview, he claimed that he was not mentally stable and that he could kill somebody someday if he continued to work in the street patrol of the LAPD.
Many claimed that this was actually his effort to receive his pension while avoiding his duties. Others took him seriously and asked the authorities to remove him from police duties immediately. It was also argued by many that he could resume his services as a police officer if his gun were to be taken away. However, the court decided against it, and Mark was put back to work as a police officer.
He had handled a domestic violence case against former footballer O.J. Simpson in the late 1980s. Around the same time, he was promoted to the rank of detective. In 1994, Mark got involved in the O.J. Simpson murder case, which brought him and all others associated with it under the media spotlight.
The O.J. Simpson Murder Case
On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, who was O.J.’s ex-wife, and Ron Goldman, her friend, were found murdered. The main accused was O.J., as he had a history of domestic abuse against his ex-wife. A glove soaked in blood was found at the scene. Mark Fuhrman was one of the first detectives to arrive on the scene, and he immediately went to Simpson’s residence and found drops of blood on the floor and on the car parked outside Simpson’s driveway.
Mark did not have a search warrant, but in spite of that, he jumped over the wall to enter the house and let the other detectives in, which was deemed illegal. Mark later claimed that he had just wanted to see if Simpson was also harmed, and if that was the case, the murderer could have still been inside.
A blood-soaked right-hand glove was found at the residence, while the left glove was found at the murder spot. This was one of the key pieces of evidence that could have been used to hold Simpson as the perpetrator of the double murder. However, when those gloves were presented for Simpson to wear, they appeared to be too small, thus debunking the claim that they were his gloves.
Simpson was arrested on July 17, and he later said that he was “not guilty.” The prosecution also could not find anything suspicious about him, and the court later declared that Simpson could not be kept in custody in absence of any concrete evidence whatsoever.
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It was later alleged by Simpson’s defense team that the second glove had been planted by Mark Fuhrman and that accusing Simpson had been a racially motivated move. Simpson was an African–American man who was also rich, and that was said to be the reason for many people wanting to bring him down.
The defense team also referred to Mark’s infamous history of racism. However, his decade-old interviews were not considered as evidence of his racist behavior, as they had been recorded about 15 years earlier and had no direct association with the case.
In January 1995, during the trial, Mark was questioned and asked whether he had used racial slurs in the past 10 years. He denied all allegations of racism against him, but it was proven with sufficient evidence that he had lied under oath and that he had a strong history of racism against African–Americans.
When the charges of racism against him were proven, he admitted that he had lied. However, he chose to remain silent when he was asked whether he had planted the glove deliberately on Simpson’s property. The jury mostly consisted of black jurors. Thus, despite Mark not accepting that he had planted the glove himself, it was believed that he had done so. As a result, the jury gave its verdict, and Simpson was acquitted.
Mark retired from the force in 1995. In later interviews, he denied planting the glove. He apologized for the use of racist slurs in the past, while also saying that he was not a racist man. The whole tape and the glove fiasco started a big racism debate and became a more significant topic in the media than the actual murder case.
Later Life & Family
Following his retirement from the LAPD, Mark Fuhrman moved to Idaho and remained low-key for a year or so. In 1997, he published a book titled Murder in Brentwood, which was about the O.J. Simpson case.
The book claimed that he was absolutely sure of Simpson’s guilt and stated that the LAPD had not handled the case the way they should have.
He then continued to write crime novels based on real-life cases. He ended up authoring books such as Murder in Greenwich, Murder in Spokane, Silent Witness, and A Simple Act of Murder.
He also happens to be a crime scene and forensic expert for Fox News and has appeared on many of their programs.
Mark Fuhrman has been married three times. None of his marriages worked and all ended in divorces. He has two children from his third and final marriage, to Caroline Lody.