PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Guests: Kendall Coffey; Steve Geller; Charles Blow; Fredricka Wilson, Mara
Schiavocampo, Joe Madison, Jan Schakowsky, Joan Walsh
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m Al
Tonight`s lead, dramatic new developments in the death of an unarmed
teenager, Trayvon Martin, gunned down bay neighborhood watch volunteer.
The killing has shocked the nation. And sparked growing calls for justice.
Today, the civil rights division of the department of justice launched
a federal investigation in Florida. And in Florida, the state`s attorney
announced a grand jury will now investigate Trayvon`s killing.
And in today`s most stunning development, we learn that Trayvon
Martin`s girlfriend was on the phone with him moments before his deadly
encounter with his killer, George Zimmerman. In a riveting news
conference, family attorney Benjamin Crump describes what she says happened
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: He was talking to this young
lady when he went to the 7-eleven and when he came back from the 7-eleven.
He tries to get out of the rain. And un-denounced to him at all he is
being watched or anything. He is just a kid trying to get home from the
store and get out of the rain. That`s it. Nothing else.
The rain comes down, down. He then goes and he has his hoody on
because it`s raining. And he goes back it walking. And he goes back to
talking to her again. You will see the phone call when it came in at 6:54.
He then says, you know, there`s this -- I think this dude is following me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I think this dude is following me. Before the day we had
only heard George Zimmerman`s version of the events. But now, for the
first time, we are learning what Trayvon himself was doing, and saying, in
the final moments of that phone call with his friend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUMP: She heard Trayvon say, why you following me. And that`s when
she said she hears another voice saying, what are you doing around here.
And again, Trayvon says, why are you following me? And when that`s when
she says, again, he says, what are you doing around here? And she says,
she -- Trayvon is pushed and she hears an altercation going and she said
then suddenly somebody must have hit the phone and it went out. Because
that`s the last she hears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Trayvon Martin had no idea who was following him. There
was no reason for anyone to follow him. He was doing nothing wrong. Just
talking to his girlfriend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUMP: Her testimony, her testimony that is shown on these phone
logs, connects the dots. Completely connects the dots. This young lady
details it completely, the tone of the conversation and nature of the
conversation and what was happening the last minutes of his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Her account completely contradicts Zimmerman`s version of
the story. In which he claims Trayvon came after him. The family lawyer
says she`s been devastated by what she heard that night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUMP: She is traumatized over this. This was her really, really
close personal friend. They were dating. And so it is a situation where,
to know that you were the last person to talk to the young man who you
thought was one of the most special people in the world to you, and know
that he got killed moments after he was talking to you, is just riveting to
this young lady.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As you know, we`re headed to Florida Thursday night. The
network of the civil rights groups joining us and national radio
personalities like Michael Base and to demand immediate arrest of George
Zimmerman. Something that should have happened before.
What came out today, un-disclose it even more. Even under the Florida
law, how can Zimmerman say that he used deadly force because he was
threatened? When he was pursuing the young man, Trayvon.
Trayvon was never pursuing him. Therefore could never have been
threat for him. And therefore, you can`t use self-defense against someone
you were trying to chase down. He should be arrested. We are glad to see
the justice department come in. We will see what the grand jury does, but
none of that, none of that should in any way preclude an immediate arrest
of George Zimmerman for what he did.
Joining me now, is Representative Fredricka Wilson, Democrat from
Florida, who represents the district where Trayvon did live. And New York
times columnist, Charles Blow. His latest column is the curious case of
Thanks you for being here tonight.
REP. FREDRICKA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, reverend.
CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you, sir.
SHARPTON: Congressman Wilson, let me start with you. You and I have
been through a lot of battle again the down of Florida where you have is
come. Hearing the description from this young woman`s phone call, do you
believe that the police in any way can argue they handled this case fairly
as we have heard cases in the past?
WILSON: This is outright outrageous. I can`t even imagine the trauma
that`s going on with that family. And for that family. There is no way
this was handled correctly. To me, it`s murder. It`s racial profiling,
followed by murder. Trayvon was killed in cold blood. And that`s wrong.
And I cannot understand why Mr. Zimmerman has not been arrested. That is -
- this is just inconsumable.
This is the 21st century that we`re in now and still we are racially
profiling young black boys. And you know what, reverend? I`m tired of
burying young black boys. As I`ve been saying all day. I have buried
them. I have paid for their funerals and this need to stop.
SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you, Charles. From the beginning of this
case and I got involved in a couple weeks ago when the attorney called me
and he was on this show, we called for the arrest of Mr. Zimmerman. And
the justice department to come in. The justice department is no, no
arrest. Let me show you what last Tuesday, the Sanford police chief,
barely explains why Zimmerman was in charge. Let me show you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BILL LEE, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Zimmerman has made the
statement of self-defense. Until we can establish probable cause to
dispute that, we don`t have the grounds to arrest him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Charles Blow, if you have a dead young
man, no crime, no weapon, no drugs. And you have 911 tapes that clearly
has Zimmerman pursuing him even after the dispatcher said, do not do it.
How is that not probable cause to make an arrest? Is it not that this
police chief is really trying to try the case like he is the judge and
jury? Because clearly there`s probable cause, and is only enhanced by what
the girlfriend`s statement is today.
BLOW: Well, that`s exactly what it looks like from the outside. We
don`t know what Zimmerman`s statement actually says. But the statements
that we have from eye witnesses, there is three of them at this point, and
now from the girlfriend who is on the phone who is listening to
conversation, and it must be stated that hers is a statement is not
testimony as was described earlier, it is a statement. Someone still has
to -- the authorities still have to interview her.
But if you believe what she is saying and you believe what the
witnesses say, there is probable cause because this child was under
suspicion, apparently by Mr. Zimmerman, based on his own voice on his own
911 tape, for reasons that we cannot fully understand. Because nothing of
what the child does is in any way criminal, is in any way aggressive. In
fact he is retreating from Mr. Zimmerman, according to the young lady`s
statement. And in fact, even according to Zimmerman`s 911 tape, he says,
he`s running away from me. So we realize that child is retreating.
SHARPTON: But Charles, let me push you a little bit then.
BLOW: Go ahead.
SHARPTON: Because, let`s take the young lady`s statement away,
because you are right, she hasn`t testified yet. Let`s put that aside.
Let`s put aside the witnesses. Let`s go on the 911 tapes that we hear
Zimmerman himself, where he describes what is going on. If he said
something contrary to the police that has not faced interrogation. So I`m
saying based on the evidence they have, which is the 911 tapes, they have
more than enough for probable cause because the probable cause cannot be
cancelled by a statement by the girlfriend or by Zimmerman. Because
Zimmerman is not a prayer book either. So whatever Zimmerman might have
said, they cannot make an arrest or not make an arrest based on that when
they have clear evidence of him saying, he was pursuing the guy and the guy
was running against him. Let me play the tape for you Charles.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SUSPECT IN TRAYVON MARTIN`S DEATH: These (bleep)
holes, they always get away.
911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?
911 DISPATCHER: OK, we don`t need to you do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now anything that he may have said to try and explain that
is still him saying something after the fact that has to go to a trial and
has to be hit with cross examinations. So, the police chief can`t have it
both ways. He can`t say, well the girl has to be interrogated but we`re
just going to believe Zimmerman at face value, even though we have tapes
clearly giving us probable cause.
BLOW: Listen. I`m not a legal expert. As a citizen of the United
States and as a father of two boys, I believe that probable cause was
lowered into a grave on March 3rd and that was the body of Trayvon Martin.
That alone should be enough to hold him until the grand jury, judge`s
business or release some bond or whatever. But to make arrest on one
person that entered into that encounter was had no weapon, was committing
no crime whatsoever, had not intruded -- you know, people keep trying to
apply Florida standard brown law. I cannot figure out how that law might
apply in this case. Because Trayvon did not go into his dwelling, his
house or his automobile. In fact, Mr. Zimmerman exited his automobile.
Number two, Mr. Zimmerman has a legal handgun. But we have do not
know yet, and a very important question in this, Reverend Al, is whether or
not Zimmerman had a holster with he wore his handgun all the time or if Mr.
Zimmerman, in looking at this child as a suspicious child, retrieved the
handgun a, tucked it into his waistband or had it in his hand and held it
in his hand and got out because that goes to the issue of intent.
Number two, as I spoke to Trayvon`s mother on Thursday, that picture
of Trayvon that everyone has seen in the burgundy sweatshirt is very recent
picture. Trayvon was killed two or three weeks to the day after his 17th
birthday. Trayvon is a very young looking child.
If Mr. Zimmerman was close enough to talk to him and the girlfriend
would close enough to hear Mr. Zimmerman`s voice on the phone, you could
look into that child`s face and know that is not a grown man. That is a
boy. And you had two opportunities to identify himself as a neighborhood
watch person. And did not take those opportunities.
Trayvon said why are you following me. He said why are you here?
Instead of saying, I`m part of the neighborhood watch. I`m just trying to
make sure that you belong here, whatever the case may be.
SHARPTON: He chose not to do that.
BLOW: The way he handled that, he chose not to do that. And he knew
he was armed with a handgun. When he chose not to.
SHARPTON: And Congresswoman Wilson, let me end this with you. The
community outraged, and I have noticed this is black and whites, to people
that have contacted us, from all across the board, the community outrage is
that. That there`s been no action. It was almost like they felt if they
could contain it in Sanford. They get away with it until some of us got
involved and made this a national concern. That outrage is that. That the
worth of this boy`s life has to be held up because then it threatens all of
our lives and our kids` lives.
WILSON: Absolutely. And the people in Miami are outraged. His
school is outraged. The students are outraged. Everyone is outraged. And
Reverend Sharpton, we thank you and I will be there with you Thursday. And
with Congresswoman Corrine Brown. We will be there to show our outrage.
And I just cannot see why this gentleman has not been arrested. There is
no answer to that question. And everybody in the congress, all across the
aisle, regardless, black, white, Hispanic, are asking, what can we do.
What can we do to help Florida? What can we do to help the Florida
delegation get justice for Trayvon Martin? That`s the question here in
SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman Wilson, thank you. And you have always
been on the case, and I know you`ll be on this one. And I have known you a
long time. Thank you so much.
And some of the most insightful writing today, from New York times
columnist, Charles Blow.
Thank you both for your time tonight.
WILSON: Thank you, reverend al.
BLOW: Thank you for having me.
WILSON: Always there, with you.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
Coming up next, the outrageous law that is shielding Trayvon Martin`s
killer. We`ll investigate it. We will also take a closer look at George
Zimmerman. Why hasn`t he been arrested?
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: The killing of Trayvon Martin has brought new focus to
Florida`s stand your ground law. The law that allows anyone to use deadly
force as long as they say they feel threatened. Is it`s the law that`s
shielding Trayvon`s killer today but new evidence in this case could
destroy that entire defense. We`ll talk about that next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."
The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, is a
free man today because of one of the most outrageous laws in the country.
He is hiding behind a law called stand your grounds. A law that takes the
idea of self-defense to extremes. The lawyer for Trayvon`s family talked
about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUMP: Self-defense is legal argument you make in the courtroom. Not
an argument you tell the police and get to go to bed or flee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Florida`s 2005 stand your ground law loosened restrictions
on using deadly force at home. It eliminated the duty to retreat in public
places. And it gave people who use self-defense civil and criminal
This law says a judge can dismiss a case, before a trial even begins.
As long as you claim self-defense and the people have been using that law
to their advantage. In years since, it became law. Self-defense homicides
have skyrocketed. The number more than tripled in 2009 even police and
prosecutors say this law doesn`t work.
The former Miami police chief says, quote, "you`re encouraging people
to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn`t be used." And
state attorney Willie Moggs says quote, "it is crazy, it`s insanity. Stand
your ground is the dumbest ground ever put on the books," end of quote.
Joining me now is former Florida state senator Steve Geller, democrat
who spoke out against the law when it was first introduced and criminal
defense lawyer and former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
STATE SEN. STEVE GELLER (D), FLORIDA: Reverend Sharpton, it is hard
to determine which is a greater tragedy? The senseless killing of a fine
young man or the law that may permit that to occur. Without impunity.
They are both tragedies. That`s, again, one of the reasons I argued
against that law when it first passed. If you`re familiar with the law,
the castle doctrine, which is that you can defend yourself in the home,
originally this law was just supposed to talk about not having to retreat
once you`re in your home.
But it was extended far beyond that. It basically is make the entire
public square your home. And the argument that I had at the time was that
it would permit people tomorrow go out and do exactly what happened, that
people would die as a result of it. Unfortunately, they have, and they
will again in the future, as long as this law exists.
SHARPTON: Well, Mr. Geller, let me go to attorney Coffey. Let me ask
you, because one of the things we are going to be dealing with as we rally
around Florida is dealing with this law.
But let me ask you, as you look at this as a former federal
prosecutor, yourself, can this law even be held or be used to free Mr.
Zimmerman? Because I even, reading the law, don`t understand how given the
tapes and now the statement by the girlfriend, if the statement proves to
be true, he even can use this law to duck accountability in this.
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER FLORIDA U.S. ATTORNEY: We are starting to get
some evidence accumulated that could overcome that kind of self-defense
claim. And consider how high the stakes have become. This is about more
than just Trayvon Martin now. Because if this shooter gets away with it,
and is not charged in anything, then the word is going to be sent far and
wide throughout Florida and maybe, to many other states that have followed
Florida, that yes, there is a license to kill in Florida as long as there`s
no eyewitnesses that see you actually gun him down. And you don`t shoot
him in the back. So stakes are very, very high here.
We are starting to see evidence that actually could be a basis for
viable prosecution. It is not going to be easy. These kinds of self-
defense cases aren`t easy. But it is starting to look like the prosecutor
will have a case to work with.
SHARPTON: Now, Mr. --
GELLER: Kendall, the concern --
SHARPTON: Go ahead. Go ahead, sir.
GELLER: Kendall, the concern I`ve had is we have seen cases like
this. The example that I gave at the time was literally under this law,
two guys get into an argument in a bar. Go outside, each strap on a gun
belt, draw on each other and whoever survivors can claim he was in fear of
his life because of violence of the other person.
Having said that, I do believe that Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested
because even though he may have a defense, he has to plead that defense.
He has to prove that defense. And even though it is a subjective standard,
the case says that you must have -- or the law says you must have a
reasonable belief that you are in danger. Not any belief, a reasonable
SHARPTON: And this is my argument, this is the argument I`m using,
Mr. Coffey, is that the police have seemed to determine in advance, by not
arresting him, that his argument is reasonable. When clearly, there is no
evidence there that says that on the face of it, should he have to prove
that in a court of law, not in a police station.
COFFEY: Well, he absolutely should have to prove it. And consider
that what a jury might be looking at, it is simply this. They are going to
be witnesses that say that someone was crying out for help right before the
COFFEY: And that they heard no sounds of a fight. Now, is the jury
going to believe that someone, who is crying out for help was the guy with
the gun or the kid who had skillets and a can of ice tea?
SHARPTON: That`s my point, which is why I think you`re right. And I
think Mr. Geller, I`ve been saying all along, which is why he needs to be
arrested. First of all, we need to have a case that goes in front of a
jury. It starts with an arrest, then a charge. And clearly --
GELLER: I agree with you completely Reverend Sharpton.
SHARPTON: They have not arrested him which means that part of the
justice department investigation that I want it see is finding out who in
the police department there in Sanford decided that what he was saying met
reasonable -- the statute as you say, whether there is reasonable threat to
him was in fact following the law. To me, they are already acting as the
judge and jury here which not permitted even under this law.
GELLER: I agree with you Reverend Sharpton. We do need to change
SHARPTON: Yes, Mr. Coffey, you`re saying?
COFFEY: I was going to say, what kind of investigation took place
here? Did they get the evidence from different witnesses? Did they really
dot ground work so they could undertake an aggressive interrogation? Or
did they just listen to the guy`s self serving statement and say, OK. You
say it was self-defense, that`s good enough for me. And I have a pretty
clear sense of what the FBI is going to think of the kind of slip shot
investigation that apparently happened here.
SHARPTON: Well, I think you`re right, Mr. Coffey. Because when you
look at the fact that this guy left with his gun when you look at the fact
that we are told that the victim who is Trayvon Martin, was left in the
medical examiner`s office for several days, they never even picked up his
cell phone to call the numbers to find out who he was, while his father was
calling around to hospitals trying to find him.
How can you do a thorough investigation when you didn`t try to find
out who the victim was and you listen to a self serving statement by
Zimmerman and he walks away with a nine millimeter? I mean, these officers
have a lot of questions that they need to answer and maybe a court date
themselves after the justice department gets finished.
GELLER: Reverend, again, I think most people now are agreeing that,
you know, although there may be problems with the prosecution, because he
would have to -- Mr. Zimmerman would have to prove a reasonable, but
subjective, belief that he was in danger. Let him prove that. Don`t not
arrest him, arrest him make him prove to a jury that he had a reasonable,
even though it was subjective belief, that he was in fear of grievous
bodily harm. We need justice for this young man. We also need to change
SHARPTON: Mr. Geller, thank you for that. And Mr. Coffey, I end this
by quoting a Miami dade circuit judge who denied a defendant`s stand your
ground defense. Denied it with a judge saying in "ordinary circumstances,
a push or a slap may be met with a push or slap or perhaps a punch. But
not a bullet."
There wasn`t even a push or a slap here. There was a guy walking home
with skillets and ice tea.
GELLER: A tragedy.
SHARPTON: Stay ahead with us. Thank you, gentlemen for being with us
Explosive new questions about Trayvon Martin`s killer and whether race
was a factor in this case. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, as we have reported, the Justice Department is
now investigating the killing of Trayvon Martin. Was this a hate crime?
What is the standard? And what do the 911 tapes from George Zimmerman say?
Important questions. We`ll tackle them next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. There`s now a federal
investigation into the killing of Trayvon Martin. Officials from the civil
rights division of the Justice Department are looking into the shooting and
his killer, George Zimmerman. That investigation could find that Zimmerman
committed a hate crime that defined by federal law as quote, "a crime in
which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, because of the actual
or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender,
disability or sexual orientation of any person."
Meanwhile, we`re learning more about George Zimmerman himself. He is
a 28-year-old former criminal justice student who was arrested in 2005 and
charged with resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer.
The Miami Herald reports, his neighbors say, he was quote, "fixated on
crime and focused on young black males." Records show Zimmerman called
911, 46 times since January 2011 to report disturbances, break-ins and
incidents. Today the tapes from some of those calls were released to the
public and they show that race was a dominant factor in who he pursued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: Is he white, black or Hispanic.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S SHOOTER: Black.
DISPATCHER: What do they look like? Are they white, black or
ZIMMERMAN: Black male, two black males in their late teens.
There`s a suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood. I`ve
never seen them before. I have no idea what they are doing, they`re just
hanging out loitering.
DISPATCHER: Mr. Zimmerman, can you describe the two individuals.
ZIMMERMAN: Two African-American males. A gentleman was walking in
the neighborhood and I`ve seen him before on trash days, going around
picking up trash. I don`t know what his deal is.
DISPATCHER: Is he white, black or Hispanic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, NBC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You nailed it.
SHARPTON: I did it this time. And of course Joe Madison. I never
had a problem nailing him. Mara has been working and digging into this
case and of course Joe host syndicated show "Mornings with Madison" on
Sirius XM radio and will be doing the rally from Florida live on Thursday
night. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.
JOE MADISON, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON": Thank you.
SHARPTON: Mara, let me start with you. You listened to the 911
calls. Is there any doubt that race is featured prominently in those calls
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Not at all. And I listened to all of them. And six of
the call, there were six calls that were released. In four of them he was
calling about people. So, the other two were not complaints about people.
And in all four of those cases about African-American males. When the
question is, what are they doing? Essentially they were suspicious by just
virtue of being present on the street. And one thing that I found to be
fascinating on one of the phone calls is he even mentioned to the
dispatcher that house that he is concerned about being broken into is owned
by a Caucasian. So, he throws.
SHARPTON: He says that on the tape.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: He says, I know the resident and the resident is
Caucasian. And so, he`s mentioning to the dispatcher, you know, we have to
protect the property of this Caucasian male.
SHARPTON: Which should have nothing to do with.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: The race of the victim should have nothing do with
trying to protect them from a potential crime. And so, this is clearly
someone who was very conscious of race. And he seems to find black male
suspicious by virtue of the fact that they were on the street. And in the
call that he made about Trayvon Martin, he says, these a-holes always get
away. And that`s when he pursued him. And this gives us some context to
that. Maybe he was tired of these black men not being apprehended.
SHARPTON: Well, Joe Madison, you have been very strong on your radio
show about this and other parts of the tape saying that clearly this is not
only a crime but you feel a hate crime.
MADISON: Well, and that`s because we did something. We played the
tapes related to Trayvon Martin. And in its entirety. And we had a very
astute listener who emailed me and said, wait a minute, go back, there`s a
very racial derogatory comment he makes under his breath. And today, we
brought an engineer up to the studio, Reverend Al, and we played that tape
and you can clearly hear this. Now, I don`t want to repeat it. But I`m
saying, you can go to my Facebook, you can you go to JoeMadison.com. It`s
there. You can hear him. He is either running or getting out of the car.
And this right here alone, those two words, will let you know clearly, and
I think let the Justice Department know, exactly his racist attitude. And
like I said.
SHARPTON: Which is what they would need to go with a hate crime,
Mara. You look in to this as well.
MADISON: Yes, and it`s there. It`s there.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes. Absolutely. So, the issue with the hate crime is
something that was motivated by bias. So, the question you have to ask
yourself or a grand jury would have to ask themselves is would George
Zimmerman have behaved the same way if Trayvon Martin were not black. And
I think you can take a look at this calls and see how fixated he was on
black males being suspicious. And then the perceived racial slur that he
may have used in that tape which I heard as well. It`s not a 100 percent
what you`re saying but it certainly sounds as he`s using a derogatory term
for African-Americans. Then the question becomes, was he motivated by race
in which case it could rise to the level of a hate crime.
MADISON: I think the FBI will have the technical capability of
slowing that tape down and filtering it the way we did at Sirius XM and
they will be able to clearly hear it.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. Putting the race hate crime
aside, because there is a crime here, whether it becomes a hate crime or
whether the murder or manslaughter, whichever way the state goes, and I
intend to stay on this until some movements somewhere toward justice is
made, toward real justice, the national neighborhood watch patrol, which
Zimmerman was supposed to follow, says this. This is what they describe as
guidelines. "It should be emphasized to members that they do not possess
police powers and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles. They
should also be cautioned to alert police or deputies when encountering
strange activities. Members should not confront suspicious persons who
could be armed and dangerous."
Now, to disobey the guidelines clearly gives intent, if there is
intent and you disobey not only the guidelines but the dispatcher, how do
you then use self-defense as an argument when you have disobeyed
guidelines. Disobeyed the instructions of a dispatcher. You cannot then
say, I felt that I was being threatened. Because you clearly, if race is
not in it, you have clearly can`t use self-defense and you killed somebody.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: I think that`s key. How does the pursuer, how does the
hunter claim that he was behaving in self-defense? I think that`s the
question. And, you know, if you look at the standard ground law in
Florida, it says that you have no duty to retreat if you feel that your
life is being threatened. But if you are the one in pursuit it changes the
SHARPTON: Joe, let me ask you this, Joe. Because I`ve got to go.
SHARPTON: Joe, his father, Zimmerman`s father, defended his son in a
statement last night saying he is Spanish-speaking with many black family
members and friends. He would also be the last to discriminate. If he is
partially Latino, does that change anything in terms of whether he would
have committed a hate crime?
MADISON: Of course not. We all know that -- first of all, I don`t
know what he put on his census. If he may have put white, he may have put
non-black Hispanic, I don`t know. But the reality is that, we know racism
exists in all shades, colors of people. This is ridiculous argument. And
by way, the tapes prove just the opposite. So the reality is, we`ll be
with you on Thursday. We`ll going to give people a chance to hear it,
across the nation. Glad you`re doing it. We`ll be with you 100 percent of
SHARPTON: All right. Let me say this, on Sean Bell`s case, a police
case in New York.
SHARPTON: Two of the three policemen were black and I marched in
forth just the same.
MADISON: Thank you. It really doesn`t matter and they were
policemen. Zimmerman was not. Mara, Joe, thanks so much for your time.
We`ll be right back to talk politics. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`ll take a turn to politics with the return of an old
friend. He`s back. He`s Paul Ryan. And just one day after trying to kill
Medicare, he is back with a new budget. Why the new one is just as bad as
the old one. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Today, Paul Ryan released
his 2013 budget plan and it`s deja vu all over again. It makes changes to
Medicare and favors the rich at the expense of the poor. So there`s no
surprise, Republicans love it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We are going to continue to
lead the effort, to bring real fiscal responsibility to our country.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE BUDGET CHAIR: This plan of action is
about putting an end to empty promises from bankrupt government. And
restoring the fundamental promise of America.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: We have courageously, intelligently
and responsibly laid out a new plan for America`s future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Courageous, responsible. This brand was slash taxes from
high income earners from 35 percent to 25 percent. That`s courageous? It
also lowers corporate tax rates. That`s responsible? Paul Ryan also
promises to close a lot of pesky tax loop holes. He just doesn`t give any
specifics. But there is one thing he is specific about. And that`s the
fact that the poor is going to have to bear the brunt of this plan. He
cuts 1.5 trillion from the affordable care act. Guts Medicaid by 770
billion and rips 200 million from Medicare. This isn`t courageous. It`s
the exact opposite. It is going to spell trouble for Paul Ryan, the entire
republican Congress, as well as Willard Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP
Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat from Illinois
and Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon.com. Also an MSNBC political
analyst. Congresswoman, let me start with you. The central issue of this
year has been -- but today the GOP offer a plan that helps the rich by
gutting the poor. Haven`t they learned anything?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Oh, no. This is Ryan 2.0 which is
exactly the same with a few changes from the last time. And what it does,
is asks the low income and middle class Americans to bear the entire burden
of deficit reduction while giving huge massive tax breaks to the wealthiest
Americans and preserving the tax breaks for big oil. The average
millionaire and billionaire would receive about $175,000 in tax cuts.
SHARPTON: Now, Joan, when you hear the congresswoman break down some
of what this bill does, what this planned budget does, and what I`ve said
in the opening, listen to what Paul Ryan says this will do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Do you feel that this budget
could have a detrimental effect, the GOP presidential nominee in November.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R) WISCONSIN: I really don`t. I think all of our
candidates have campaigned on these various ideas. Our nominee, owes it to
the country to give them a choice of two futures. We`re helping him do
that. Each of this people running for president have all given their
various ideas reforms with perfectly jive or consistent.
RUSSERT: And you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And I don`t disagree with them. They have all gone for it.
They all say it. I also think it will be very detrimental, what do you
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: I agree. I mean, I do think
that that is one place where Paul Ryan is actually telling the truth. The
rest of his party leaders support this. I believe Willard Mitt Romney
today came out and affirmatively said so. But you know, you and I both
know, Reverend Al, this budget is part snake oil and it`s part castor oil.
The snake oil is that he`s pretending that he`s going to cut the deficit
with this big tax give aways to the rich and the castor oil is for the poor
and the middle class. The castor oil, is all of us have to take our
medicine, we all have to sacrifice. We are the ones who have to sacrifice
and the rich strangely never do. I think this is great news for Democrats
and I think I also agree with him, that it really draws some stark lines
between the two parties as long as our party stands its ground and doesn`t
get into any kind of cute negotiations around these issues. These people
are extremist and you really can`t compromise with them.
SHARPTON: And congresswoman, not only does it do all of the above
that Joan has said, look at this, it increases military spending while it
cuts food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid. So, they will going to
increase the military spending while they, again, go after the most
vulnerable and needy in society.
SCHAKOWSKY: And don`t forget, once again he destroys Medicare as we
know it. Turns it into a voucher program, meaning that seniors would have
to go out and find insurance. Oh, he says that they can go to Medicare.
But it`s still a voucher that doesn`t keep up with medical inflation. And
so, Medicare as we know it would be ending. But the food stamp or snap
program would also be cut and the requirement, if you want to get on food
stamps, would be that you have to have a look far job or have job training.
What about all of the children? Are they going to have to also go out and
look for a job?
SHARPTON: And let`s remember the last time he made these Medicare
proposals, it wasn`t that popular. Seventy eight percent people polled at
that time oppose cuts to Medicare. So for him to come back with basically
the same premise and say, this is not detrimental, Joan, I mean, with
friends like that, Willard and the rest don`t need enemies politically.
WALSH: No. You know, I think we`ve all got into these language
semantic debates over whether it is ending Medicare, Medicare as we know
it. Let`s just say it ends Medicare, Reverend Al. Because none of us, I
don`t think any of us are old enough to quite remember this but Congress
debated for many years, many types of plans that would have provided
vouchers. That would have worked solely through the private system. This
was a big ideological debate. And Lyndon Johnson and more progressive
Democrats prevailed and they said, no, we`re not going to leave our seniors
to the open market. That`s what Medicare is. This is voucher care or
maybe it`s Ryan care, but it`s not Medicare. And we shouldn`t surrender
our language to them. He is destroying a public program that people love.
SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, will the either side, those on the
other side of the aisle, will they fight for this budget? Will we be
seeing a public debate on this into the election? Or is this just
something he is throwing out and we are not going to have much follow-up to
SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, no. You`re going to see a very vigorous debate. One
other thing that they do in this budget, and it is kind of hidden away, but
they go after Social Security as well. He endorses a plan that would raise
the age store Social Security, that would cut some benefits to Social
Security, that would reduce the cost of living adjustment. That is hidden
away in that budget too. Americans of all stripes. Democrats,
Republicans, independents and even Tea Partiers do not want their Medicare
or Social Security to be cut.
SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, thank you. And Joan, thank you.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: I want to tell you all a little tidbit. Today, Congressman
Ryan had on the same tie that he had on last time he dropped a budget. So,
he not only repeated what he was wearing, he repeated who he was going to
do in with his budget. He seems to have done a repeat performance. We`ll
be right back.
SHARPTON: We end tonight where we began with Trayvon Martin, the
unarmed teenager shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer. We have
talked about his death. But now I want to talk about his life. Trayvon
was born on February 5th, 1995. He grew up in the suburbs of Miami with
his mother and older brother. He was a 17-year-old high school junior who
played football when he was younger. He used to attend games at the
University of Miami with his brother and uncle. Trayvon hoped to become an
airplane mechanic when he grew up. Math was his favorite subject in
school. One of his teachers said, quote, "he was extremely creative and he
just loved building things. He was really intrigued by how things worked.
And A and B student who majored in cheerfulness. Trayvon`s death has
devastated everyone who knew him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: He was very outgoing young man. He
was upbeat. He was upbeat individual. I was molding my son to be a man.
A young man.
NATALIE DAVIS, TRAYVON`S COUSIN: He watched my two kids. He baked
cookies. He did whatever you needed him to do. Whatever you need, you
could always count on Trayvon.
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: He was mild-mannered. He was a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I want you to understand that this was a human being. A
kid like your kids and my kids. What did he do to deserve to lose his
life? If you can`t answer it, that`s why we`re demanding, others have to.
Because every child, 17, should not have to face this. And this is what
this is about. Fairness, justice, that`s all. Thanks for watching. I`m
Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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