Simpson Friend, Former Policeman Talks About Testimony for First Time
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The former policeman who visited O.J. Simpson’s estate to get autographs and gave damning testimony against the former football star, says his conscience is clear: He didn’t betray his friend.
``A lot of people say, `Why did you sell the Juice?′ ″ Ronald Shipp said in a recent interview with The Associated Press, his first about his testimony.
``I feel relieved saying what I had to say and the rest will be up to the jury. ... In God’s eyes, I did what was right.″
Shipp, who testified for the prosecution in February, is a retired, 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and has known Simpson for 26 years.
He did favors for Simpson, and in return, was given access to the spa and tennis courts at Simpson’s Brentwood estate. Shipp would bring his fellow officers over to meet Simpson or to let them walk through Simpson’s trophy room.
He endured intense cross-examination by the defense when he told jurors that after Nicole Brown Simpson was dead, Simpson confided to him that he had had dreams of killing her.
``He jokingly said, `To be honest, Shipp, I’ve had some dreams of killing her,″ Shipp testified.
The defense has denied that any such conversation took place and tried to portray Shipp as a lying sycophant with an alcohol problem.
Shipp, who told the jury he used to drink, knew that testifying for the prosecution would alienate him from some fellow blacks.
The author of a new book that’s intended to give a black perspective of the trial lambastes Shipp as a ``snitch.″ A questionnaire that was sent out to 1,500 blacks in the Los Angeles area serves as the foundation of the book ``Justice on Trial.″ About half the surveys were returned, according to the author, Dr. James A. Mays.
One question in the book asks, ``Is Ron Shipp a hero?″ Most who answered said ``no,″ Mays said.
Shipp wasn’t surprised by the response.
``I honestly hope they’re just saying this because they truly believe he is innocent,″ Shipp said of the respondents. ``I could live with that. But if they’re saying I shouldn’t have testified because he’s black and a black football hero, they should re-examine their thoughts on what a human life is worth.″
For the past two years, Shipp has worked for a property management company. He also is an occasional actor. He said he rarely watches the trial.
``When something major happens friends call to tell me,″ he said.