Video Of O.J. Simpson's Surrender To Police After The Bronco Chase Shows The Real Drama Behind 'Crime Story'
I was 11 years old in 1994 when O.J. Simpson led polices officers on a low-speed chase in a white Ford Bronco, after failing to turn himself in when a warrant was issued for his arrest for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, of which he was later found not guilty. I remember watching the chase live; there wasn't much choice since coverage took over every channel. I remember my teachers, parents, and every grown-up I knew talking about it the next day. But I don't remember wondering at it. I was too young to comprehend the ludicrousness of the situation — how very atypical it was. But no similar event since has matched O.J. Simpson's white Bronco chase for all-consuming public interest and sheer unpredictability. Of course, we can't forget what came next, which was O.J. Simpson's surrender to police after arriving at his home.
The first episode of The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story ends when the chase begins. As the series tells it, high-powered attorney Robert Shapiro plays on his client's fame and fortune to get Marcia Clark and the DA's office to agree to let him turn himself in instead of making a scene at his home. Shapiro, Simpson, and others take refuge in the home of Simpson's long-time friend Robert Kardashian. (Simpson and a woman sleep in "Kimmy's" bedroom.) Shapiro subjects Simpson to evaluation after evaluation by doctors and experts in order to sock away opinions that could be helpful for his defense. They miss the surrender deadline, and eventually the authorities become tired of waiting. Meanwhile, Kardashian finds Simpson in his study with letters to his loved ones, a hand-written will, and a gun to his head. The LAPD send officers to Kardashian's home while Kardashian tries to talk Simpson down. By the time they arrive, Simpson is gone, along with friend and former teammate Al Cowlings.
In real life, we know that Kardashian became famous in an instant when he read a letter from Simpson to reporters after Simpson's escape. The Los Angeles Times reported that Simpson held a gun to his own head in the Bronco, and many watching the chase likely feared what could happen. Cameras that zoomed in during the nearly three-hour ordeal show Cowlings driving and Simpson in the backseat with the barrel intermittently place to his temple.
As the newspaper also reported, the car finally came to a stop in Brentwood in front of Simpson's home, with news cameras covering the tense conclusion from overhead. Cowlings exited the vehicle before Simpson, and stood just outside the front door speaking with LAPD officers inside. Simpson negotiated his surrender with police from his cell phone for almost an hour. Meanwhile, news stations also reported the growing gathering ("almost a party") of O.J. supporters who traveled to the site to support their hero. You can hear in the video below that the police actually ordered news helicopters away at a certain point because of the noise, so the broadcast cuts out right before the surrender. According to The LA Times, at exactly 8:47 p.m., Simpson had exited the vehicle.
Watch the moments leading up to OJ Simpson's surrender below before you see FX's version of them unfold on American Crime Story Tuesday night.