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Practical Politics

The politics of trying to use and then being used

David L. Horne, Ph.D ow contribuor | 5/16/2019, midnight

Former prosecutor for the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office (fired after the O.J. trial), crime novelist, t-v legal commentator, former law school professor of criminal justice, and former California State University, Los Angeles lecturer, Attorney Christopher Darden—best known for his flawed participation in the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial which made now-deceased attorney Johnnie Cochran an even bigger star in the Black community than he already was—was recently trying to make a big public comeback by being the attorney of record for Mr.  Eric Holder, the 29 -year old brother charged with murdering Nipsey Hussle in Los Angeles.

Reportedly, Mr. Holder is a current gang member, and a former inmate. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of gun possession by a convicted felon.

Mr. Darden had entered a not guilty plea to all of the above. But last week, just before the start of another hearing connected to the case, Mr. Darden abruptly turned in papers withdrawing himself as the legal representative for Mr. Holder.

While he did not offer a public statement to the press about why he was withdrawing from the case, Mr. Darden did put on social media that he and his family had been threatened with death or bodily harm if he continued to represent Mr. Holder. Mr. Darden’s three children had been named and identified on social media, and clues about knowing where those children were on a daily basis had been provided online. Mr. Darden did not say he had withdrawn for that reason, but in the absence of any other rationale being provided, that is the reason the public has decided to accept.

Mr. Darden likened much of the public response to his involvement in the Nipsey Hussle case to his participation for the prosecution in the O.J. case. In the latter, he was called a sellout, a traitor and an Uncle Tom, among other pejoratives. In connection with the Nipsey Hussle case, he was publicly lambasted several times as a paid stooge, a Judas, and as a publicity hound seeking the spotlight no matter the injustice of the situation.

Mr. Darden, who, by the way, is an announced Republican, has said that his purpose has always been to bring equal justice to the African American community in a country that has been known to “lynch” Black men legally and otherwise. To him, Mr. Holder deserved quality representation in the current situation, and at first, Mr. Darden thought he was the best one to bring that to Holder’s situation.  

Mr. Holden has now been assigned a public defender, the young woman who drove the “getaway car” remains not in custody and not a suspect, and the big memorial of flowers and candles have been mostly taken down now from the front of Hussle’s Marathon Clothing location on Slauson Avenue.

The overall issue, however, has not died away. It seems to only be in a quiet pause, waiting to blow open again as soon as the trial begins.

We, the public, have every reason to expect another O.J.-style big show trial, but Attorney Chris Darden will not, it seems, be a part of it. In the end, that may all be best for everyone concerned. There’s already been far too much killing—another Black man, and another, dead—already.

Can we all get a little R.I.P.? Let’s get on with honoring the dead who were honorable, learn existentially from this latest death dance-around, and try to raise ourselves (ala Stevie Wonder) “to higher ground.”

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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