We would like to express our sadness at the passing of Johnnie Cochran. Johnnie's remarkable skill, intellect and commitment made him a giant in the legal and civil rights community. The ACLU was proud to work with Johnnie many times on the pressing need for police reform, police respect for communities of color and civil liberties for all.
As a prosecutor and a defense attorney Johnnie was a tireless and principled advocate for justice, even for the unpopular. Nowhere was this more evident than in the case of Geronimo Pratt, a Black activist unjustly convicted of murder in 1972. Johnnie worked for Pratt's release for close to thirty years. The ACLU was honored to join him in that work and we were all proud that Mr. Pratt's eventual release vindicated Johnnie's belief that lawyers committed to fairness and justice can give voice to the voiceless.
Even before he rose to national prominence with the O.J. Simpson case, Johnnie had established himself as gifted advocate for the dispossessed. His increased profile after that case allowed him to extend the reach of his service across the nation.
Johnnie's integrity and ability won him the praise and respect of attorneys, judges, lawyers and the everyday people in the community whose struggles and concerns he made his own.
Our condolences go out to Johnnie's family. We hope they know of the undying gratitude Johnnie has earned from his colleagues in the civil rights community and from the city and people for whom he did so much. We have all lost a friend today.