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THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL : Police Panel to Get Full Set of Fuhrman Tapes, Transcripts

September 13, 1995|IAN JAMES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Attorneys representing the city and aspiring screenwriter Laura Hart McKinny have reached an agreement allowing police officials to obtain a complete copy of her interviews with former Detective Mark Fuhrman for use in the Police Commission's investigation of alleged police misconduct.

Last month, Commission President Deirdre Hill and Vice President Art Mattox listened to the 13 hours of tapes and read transcripts of the former detective's conversations with McKinny. But obtaining the tapes will allow the commission to use them as evidence in its ongoing investigation to root out rogue officers. The tapes are in the process of being dubbed and will be ready later this week, said Assistant City Atty. Mary Thornton House.

On Monday, Judge Lance A. Ito ordered the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson murder trial to release a copy of the recordings and transcripts to City Atty. James K. Hahn. Under Ito's order, the tapes must remain "under lock and key" in the city attorney's office and can only be made available to the commissioners and top officials of the Los Angeles Police Department.

At its meeting Tuesday, the commission vowed to aggressively follow up on its decision to probe possible police misconduct indicated in taped conversations with Fuhrman.

"We give our promise that we will do that with our best efforts," Hill said.

In poring over the recordings, the commissioners will try to separate fiction from fact to determine if officers should be disciplined.

Hill promised a "speedy and thorough investigation."

But Clay Claiborne, who stepped to the microphone during a public comment period, said the LAPD has a long way to go to root out underlying racism.

"Chief Williams, Deirdre Hill," he said, "you've got your work cut out for you."

In a separate action, McKinny asked the court to return to her all tapes and transcripts that Ito has ruled inadmissible in the Simpson trial, which constitutes the bulk of the material.

"The public is not entitled to access to these protected materials," her attorney, Matthew H. Schwartz, said.

Times staff writer Bill Boyarsky contributed to this report.

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