c) Allegations of racist T-shirts
Randall alleged that several racist T-shirts were offered for sale at the 1995 Roundup.
Numerous witnesses saw a variety of unofficial T-shirts for sale at the 1995 campground by various attendees. One such T-shirt made an allusion to O.J. Simpson. It was offered for sale by two Fort Lauderdale police officers, one of whom had been responsible for the watermelon skit in 1992. [ / These two officers told us they sold these shirts as well as shirts with the Fort Lauderdale police department logo on them and a shirt with a face that had a penis in place of the person's nose and had "Dick Nose" written on it. ] We obtained one of the O.J. T-shirts from the manufacturer. On the front of the shirt was a small stick figure on a gallows; no facial description or other details were drawn. Beneath the figure were two lines with the letter "O" on the first line and "J" on the second, as would be done in the children's game of "hangman." There was an identical, but larger, drawing on the back. [ / Two witnesses claimed to have seen a similar T-shirt with the identical drawing on the back but on the front it read "O.J.'s Dream Team Call 1-800-35fo-fo,fo,fo,fo." Allegedly, it also had a picture of the Buckwheat character on it. We could find no one who had one of these shirts, and the manufacturer told us he did not make such shirts and has not seen any such shirts. The individual who sold the O.J. shirts that we did see claimed he has not sold the "Dream Team" shirts. Based on all of the information we received, we believe these two witnesses were confused and no such shirts were at the Roundup. Randall claimed that the O.J. shirt showed an actual picture of Simpson in a noose. ]
1995 "O.J." T-shirt (back)
1995 "O.J." T-shirt (front)
The manufacturer told us he sold approximately 500 of the "O.J." shirts to stores and at street festivals in Florida. He said only one person complained to him about the shirt, a woman who believed the shirt inappropriate because Simpson's murder trial was not yet over. She did not complain that it was racist. Indeed, we spoke to many people who had seen the shirt, and we showed the shirt to many others, both black and white. Many people have viewed it as a message that Simpson was guilty of a double murder rather than sending a racist message. Others, however, considered the shirt to be racist because they viewed it as suggesting a lynching.
Randall claimed that there was a T-shirt for sale with a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a target superimposed over his face. Unlike the O.J. shirt, which dozens of attendees saw, no one else claimed to have seen a Martin Luther King shirt for sale. Two witnesses thought they saw such a shirt: one believed that he may have seen someone wearing such a shirt in 1993 or 1994; the other thought he may have seen a person wearing it in 1995. [ / In a previous interview this witness described the shirt as having a picture of Malcolm X instead of King. ] This latter witness, however, made significant factual errors in a number of his other observations regarding the 1995 Roundup. We found no substantiation for Randall's claim that the King T-shirts were for sale.
Two witnesses also observed T-shirts with the letters, "NAAWP," for sale by a civilian from Georgia. [ / We spoke to the Georgian before we learned about this allegation so we did not ask about the shirts, and the person did not volunteer any information about them. The individual was not very cooperative and refused to answer many of the questions we asked. He also refused to identify the persons involved in the Scott confrontation, although he apparently broke up the confrontation. Rightmyer claimed that this individual, however, was the person who first reported the Scott/Fort Lauderdale incident to him on Friday morning. This individual was also a MOB member. ] When questioned about what NAAWP stood for, the T-shirt seller allegedly replied, "The National Association For Advancement of White Policemen." Rightmyer claimed he did not see such shirts, and we have no information to the contrary.
(ii) OIG findings
With respect to the T-shirts, we found substantial credible evidence that the O.J. T-shirts were sold at the 1995 Roundup. We found no evidence that anyone at the Roundup complained about the sale of these shirts or that any action was taken to prevent such sales.
We did not find, however, any credible evidence that T-shirts with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s face in a crosshair were offered for sale. The only person making that claim was Randall. We found only two witnesses who claimed to have possibly seen such T-shirts; one in 1994 and one in 1995. As we noted earlier, when T-shirts were offered for sale we found many witnesses who recalled seeing them. We found no such evidence regarding this alleged shirt.
We also found credible evidence that NAAWP shirts were offered for sale by a civilian. We do not know if any such shirts were actually sold or if anyone complained about them. We did find evidence that this same individual successfully sold some gun-related shirts that said, "fully rigged sig pig," which was supposed to suggest that a particular brand of weapon (Sig Sauer) was selected for use by police officers. Rightmyer said he never saw or heard about the NAAWP shirts. We found no evidence that any action was taken against the person selling the NAAWP shirts.