Tag Archives: Haywood Galbreath

Simpson Trial Photographer Troubled by Miniseries

Interesting Facebook post by photojournalist Haywood Galbreath, who was the only photographer to be inside the courtroom every day of the Simpson trial.

Haywood Galbreath tagged you and Bobby Glanton Smith in a post.
Haywood wrote: “It’s almost time for FX American crime story “The people vs. O.J. Simpson” which comes on Tuesday nights on FX. I have been quite troubled with the representation of as I say the honorable Judge Lance Ito who was the presiding judge of the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. I say honorable judge Lance Ito because that is what he was and will always be to me. Judge Ito had an almost insurmountable task ahead of him in being the judge of the trial that became the largest criminal court case in the history of America. And arguably the largest media event of the 20th century. Mainstream media which is defined as white owned media organizations criticized the judge almost from the beginning to the end of the trial. Criticizing him and saying that he let the trial get out of hand. The only thing in the trial that was really out of hand was mainstream media and it continues to be in America! The idea that judge Ito was mesmerized by the attention of the media and celebrities is inaccurate and borders on blasphemy of the integrity of the judge and his name. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons mainstream media criticizes judge Ito is because of his fairness when it came to media coverage of the trial. And the judge made a decision, the unprecedented decision of giving the Black Press of America a photo position in the courtroom which had never taken place in the history of America. In such a large criminal court case or actually any type of case in America. I Point this out and Ms.Jerrianne Hayslett continues to point out the unfairness of mainstream media and the inaccuracy of the FX American crime story “The people vs. O.J. Simpson” portrayal/ betrayal of judge Lance Ito. And she also points out the lies of writer Jeffrey Toobin whose book the run for his life the miniseries is based on. I also want to point out something else, no journalist no matter how large of news gathering organization they worked for had more access to judge Ito than myself photojournalist Haywood Galbreath. I spend more time in the judge’s chambers asking to see him as well as him inviting me in to his chambers to speak with me than any other journalist covering the trial. For 21 years I’ve seen journalist and heard mainstream media condemn the honorable judge lance Ito, and at the same time talk about how they held audience with him and wear it as a badge of honor! I am almost certain that Ms. Hayslett can prove that those journalists are lying and it did not happen the way they said it did! And I challenge any of them to prove that I did not spend more time in the chambers of the honorable judge Lance Ito for honorable reasons than they did! -IHMPJ/HG- #americancrimestory #PeoplevsOJSimpson #highprofiletrial #anatomyofatrial #Photo #iconic #image #picoftheday #photography #photographer #photojournalism #photojournalist #HG #BlackPress #BlackPressUSA #NNPA #NPPA #FOX #FX #Americancrimestory #OJ #HaywoodGalbreath #Photobook #OJSimpson #blackhistorymonth #historymakers #thepeoplevsOJSimpson #haywoodOJbook #OJbook #”
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What They and I Didn’t Know

In a recent Law Newz website post, O.J. Simpson Prosecutor Says Non-Black Writers for New Series Clearly Don’t Understand Race, former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney makes a case for what I didn’t understand during that trial more that 20 years ago, but have a better understanding of now. Here’s an observation about the FX miniseries:

“I think you have a production done, I’ll say this, basically non-black writers, non-black producers then you want to take this iconic trial with these black lawyers and talk about race, I don’t see how you talk about race without including the people that are most affected by it.”

I wouldn’t have appreciated or even understood back in 1995 what Christopher Darden meant had I heard it back then.

I did hear someone back then say something similar to that and, while I went to bat for him, I didn’t really understand. Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath, who was the only photographer who was in the courtroom taking pictures every day of the trial. I describe my encounter with him in Anatomy of a Trial:

“He represented some two-hundred black-owned newspapers across the country, he said, who were fed up with the distortions of the white media. Exhibit A, a Time magazine cover with Simpson’s mug shot which had been altered, giving him a darker, more sinister look.”

With more life experience, I have a much better idea of what Galbreath was saying and totally agree with Darden’s observation about the making of FX’s “People vs. O.J. Simpson.”

Sorry, FX, Disbelief Is Not Suspended

As I watched the first episode of FX’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” tonight, which I had DVOed last night, I tried to think how to process what I had seen. I had the most trouble with Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. He just wasn’t. Not in size, not in looks and definitely not in voice.

Before I logged onto this blog to write about it, however, I decided to read a review in “Connecting” newsletter by recently retired AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch, possibly the only person save the courtroom bailiff, the trial judge and his clerk, the parties to the case, and photographer Haywood Galbreath, who spent more time in the courtroom than I did.

I’m glad I read Linda’s review before I wrote anything. So far as I’m concerned, she nailed it.

Because of that, instead of writing anything else, at least about the first episode, I’m going to provide the link to her review.  http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Connecting—February-03–2016.html?soid=1116239949582&aid=tU78hcPb9YY

Thanks, Linda!

Remembering What Didn’t Happen?

In NPR’s Jeremy Hobson’s Here and Now interview with TV critic Eric Deggins on Feb. 2, 2016, about the FX drama “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” Jeremey said the show reminds us of so much we forgot about that happened in the 1994-95 Simpson trial.

So I told Jeremy (yes, I talk to the radio, also to the TV), “That’s because so much that’s being portrayed in the FX miniseries didn’t happen.”

An example is the prominent role Kris Jenner, ex-wife of defense counsel Robert Kardashian, has been given. Her pre-“The People vs. O.J. Simpson” comments have her in the courtroom, hanging onto every word throughout the trial.

No. She showed up on one day only. That was Sept. 27, 1995, more than nine months after the trial started and less than a week before it ended with not-guilty verdicts. She sat with her then-husband Bruce Jenner and friends Steve Garvey and Garvey’s wife.

 Photo courtesy of MPJI/HGSTAR1 NEWSPHOTO taken on Sept. 27, 1995, by Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath 

My huge problem with this series and with so much that has been written and portrayed about that case and the trial is the perpetuation of misperceptions, myths and fantasies that just didn’t happen.

Kris Jenner’s 9-27 OJS Trial Photo Finish

Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath, the only photographer  who shot pictures in Judge Lance Ito’s courtroom every day of the O.J. Simpson trial, saw a previous blog post in which I wrote that the only day I knew of that Kris Jenner attended the OJ Simpson trial in person was Sept. 27, 1995, less than a week before the trial ended in not guilty verdicts. Here’s the photo Galbreath took that day, Sept. 27, 1995, of Kris Jenner, her then-husband Bruce Jenner on her right, and to her left Steve Garvey’s wife and Steve Garvey.

Kris & Bruce Jenner at OJS trial 9.27.1995MPJI/HGSTAR1 NEWSPHOTO

Galbreath says he took took pictures of people (who thought they were somebody) who showed up in the courtroom.

Remote Trial Coverage

I read this article, “New Doc Features Black Journalists Who Covered OJ Simpson Trial,” expecting to see names of journalists I knew who covered the O.J. Simpson trial. I knew who attended it because I kept a daily list. Among the regulars were Andrea Ford, Dennis Schatzman, Janet Gilmore, Myra Ming, Bill Whitaker, and above all, photojournalist Haywood Galbreath, who was in court every day that trial was in session. Others attended from time to time as well.
While Star Jones, who is quoted in this story, did show up occasionally, although I remember her more from the Rodney King beating trial days, most of the people quoted in this story I never met or saw in the courtroom or in the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building 9th floor media center. I wondered after reading the story, why the writer, Matthew Carey, didn’t interview those who were there.
It’s a given he couldn’t have interviewed Andrea Ford or Dennis Schatzman, as both died years ago. (Schatzman, who reported for the African-American newspaper The Los Angeles Sentinel and made race the theme in his trial coverage, wrote an excellent book, The Simpson Trial in Black and White, with a white colleague, Tom Elias.) But Janet Gilmore, who reported for the Los Angeles Daily News is now and has been at UC Berkeley for more than a decade; Myra Ming, who was KTTV’s reporter/producer on the scene and went on to become a Nieman fellow, and Bill Whitaker with CBS News where he is now a 60 Minutes correspondent, shouldn’t have been hard to find.
And Haywood Galbreath, whose attendance at the Simpson trial rivals only AP reporter Linda Deutsch, to my knowledge, not only continues his photojournalism career via his H. G. Star-1 News Photos agency and published The O. J. Simpson Murder Trial: the complete photo journal of the trial of the century, he readily talks about being a black journalist covering the trial and probably has the most stark and telling stories about that experience.
At best, one or two of those Carey quoted in this article might have shown up in the courtroom once or twice during the nine months of the trial from opening statements to closing arguments and the four months of pre-trial proceedings, although I don’t recall seeing them. Otherwise, they must have covered the trial from their newsrooms, offices and other non-courtroom locations, via TV, like millions of other viewers.
In Carey’s article, former USA Today DeWayne Wickham recalled his frustration that his reporting didn’t get picked up by his own paper, which he implies in this story was racially based.
“I was a black journalist who reported a story that raised serious questions about the prosecution’s conduct of that trial, and most white folks ignored my reporting.”
Whether or not that was the case, I can’t say. What I do know, though, is that the two USA Today reporters who were consistently in the courtroom were women, so Wickham must have been covering it remotely. Plus, considering the number of African-American journalists who were assigned to onsite, i.e. courtroom, coverage, Wickham’s situation seems to have been more of an anomaly than the rule.
As I read the caption of a photograph used to illustrated Cary’s story, a bias of my own bubbled up. The picture shows Simpson getting out of a car.
Defendant O.J. Simpson arrives under the gaze of t
The caption reads: “Defendant O.J. Simpson arrives under the gaze of the media at the Santa Monica Courthouse where the first day of opening arguments. AFP/Getty Images”
This photo and caption taps into my bias in three ways of how the news media distorts and misinforms the public.
(1) The picture is of Simpson wearing civilian clothes,
(2) The caption says Simpson is arriving at the Santa Monica Courthouse,
(3) The caption says (ungrammatically) “where the first day of opening arguments.”
(1) During Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, he was in custody, locked up in the Los Angeles County Jail, where he wore orange jumpsuits from the day he was arrested on June 17, 1994, until his acquittal on Oct. 3, 1995. His lawyers brought civilian clothes to the courthouse for Simpson to change into in a locked cell there for his courtroom appearances. Never during that trial was he wearing civilian clothes while riding around in a car.
(2) The murder trial, which Carey’s story seems to be about, was held in a downtown Los Angeles courthouse, not in Santa Monica. What was held in Santa Monica was Simpson’s 1996-97 civil trial which resulted in a $33 million judgment against him. So, unsuspecting and otherwise uninformed readers of this story won’t understand the difference.
(3) Opening arguments? What the heck are opening arguments? That is a creation of the news media, something I didn’t realize until I worked for the court. Trial attorneys make opening statements. They state to a jury the facts of the case as they plan to present it and the evidence. Arguments come at the end of the trial, after the attorneys have presented their case, and argue why the jury should decide in their and their clients’ favor.
I’m disappointed that Carey, who is billed at the end of his story as editor-in-chief of nonfictionfilm.com. During the Simpson trial he worked for CNN’s LA bureau, writing on media coverage of the case didn’t know correct lingo and wasn’t aware of the damage conflating two very different trials held at different times does on his readers’/viewers’ understanding of the legal system and of those who cover it.

Galbreath Shot Like A Pro

Because he was–and still is.

I’ve written about Mr. Haywood Galbreath before, both in my book Anatomy of a Trial and on this blog. In this post, Haywood Galbreath does the writing. Below is a Facebook status update he posted yesterday. I’ll thank Haywood right here for paying me perhaps the highest compliment any member of the news media has ever given me. 

***

Today is a very historic day for the Black Press of America reference photojournalism. 21 years ago today the honorable judge Lance Ito who was presiding over the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. I made a very controversial and courageous decision. When he agreed to give the Black Press of America a photo position inside the O.J. Simpson double murder trial. Never before in the history of America had a judge been courageous enough or believed in equality enough to make that type of decision.

On July 22, 1994 when I stepped into that courtroom on behalf of the Black Press of America history was made. I however had no idea what lay ahead for me and the Black Press of Americas for the next 15 months. And I like many who had come before me in the fight for equality for black Americans. I now understand what it’s like to be put through hell in life on earth! For standing up for what you have a right to be a part of.

Mainstream medias biggest argument (mainstream media meaning white owned news organizations) their biggest argument was that the Black Press of America did not have the skill to be able to shoot such a major and import and news event. That black photojournalist could work for them but could not because of lack of skill set beside them as an equal!

On July 22nd 1994 that myth that they created that still exist today. That myth should have been put to rest. When I standing beside their best photojournalist captured an image that they messed and thay had to call my organization representing the Black Press of America for the image!

Even though I advocated for the Black Press of America to have equal access. If not for the help of Ms.Jerrianne Hayslett and the honorable Judge Lance Ito this historic event of equal access for the Black Press of America in what became the largest media event of the 20th century never would’ve happened!

For myself and for the Black Press of America. I am eternally grateful Ms.Hayslett and Judge Ito recognized how significant it was for all parties involved to be represented equally in the area of media. Especially in the area of photojournalism because of the power of the images!

The photo below is the photo that mainstream media had to get from the Black Press of America. The same Black Press of America that they argued adamantly should not have a photo position in the courtroom because we didn’t have the skill like they did to capture the moment!
Sincerely,
-History making photojournalist Haywood Galbreath/On behalf of the Black Press of America-