With the benefit of hindsight, the Nicole Brown Simpson 911 tapes should have indicated there was a considerable amount of violence just beneath the surface of the fractured relationship between former NFL player O.J. Simpson and his estranged wife. Two of the most explosive 911 calls were made on the night of Oct. 25, 1993 from the townhouse where Nicole and her two children were living. The calls were eventually used as evidence against Simpson in the murder trial in which he was acquitted for the brutal murder of Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.
The revelation of the tapes in court was meant to paint Simpson as an alleged serial abuser with a track record of reported violence toward Nicole, but ultimately the evidence didn't prove to be convincing enough to convict the former NFL star of the murders. Now, however, the calls are generating renewed interest after being aired on the blockbuster hit The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
According to transcripts received by The Los Angeles Times and several other major news outlets at the time, in one of the calls, listeners could hear Nicole's frightened voice asking for help from police to protect her from her husband who was in a violent rage, breaking down the door to the house. "My ex-husband has just broken into my house and he's ranting and raving outside in the front yard," Nicole said to the dispatcher on the other line.
Following a brief exchange, the police were dispatched to Nicole's house to respond to a domestic violence incident. But before the police could reach her, she called 911 again, after about a minute, to tell them that Simpson had returned.
The dispatcher asked her who her husband was and her response was chilling. "He's O.J. Simpson," Nicole replied. "I think you know his record." Her response suggested that there had been several previous incidents that required the police to intervene.
As the phone call progressed, Nicole seemed to become frantic, sobbing. "You're going to hear him in a minute," she says. "He's about to come in again." The dispatcher instructed her to stay on the line, to which Nicole then replied, "I don't want to stay on the line, he's going to beat the s--t out of me."
In the midst of the chaos that ensued, Nicole told the dispatcher that she was worried about her two children who were asleep in an upstairs bedroom and pleaded with Simpson not to wake them up.
From the police reports containing Nicole's account of the incident, Simpson had reportedly gotten his hands on Nicole's phone book and something he found set him off. At one point in the phone call, the dispatcher asked whether Simpson was upset with "something [Nicole] did", to which she replied, "A long time ago. It always comes back."
The 9-1-1 calls clearly show that Nicole was scared of her estranged husband, and that he was capable of breaking down a door and allegedly threatening violence against his ex-wife. A Washington Post report later revealed that Simpson had been ranting in the background of the phone call about stories that had appeared in The National Enquirer in prior weeks, ending with Simpson yelling, "Hey! I've been reading this [expletive] all week...!"
At the time, a full police report was taken down and the story became buried under heaps of other news. Little did Simpson know just how important the phone call itself would turn out to be in the coming months as the allegations against him began heating up in court.