PoliticsNation, Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Guests: Sybrina Fulton; Tracy Martin; Benjamin Crump, Jonathan Capehart;
Corrine Brown; Zachary Carter; Jeff Weiner; Joe Madison
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m
Tonight`s lead, the growing national outrage over the killing of 17-
year-old Trayvon Martin. The teenager shot by a self appointed
neighborhood watch volunteer on February 26th. Across the country, people
wonder how this tragedy could have happened, and they`re crying out for
justice, and demanding that our justice system look out for the cheerful mpeters
young man that was not looking for trouble, but just simply walking home
after buying an iced tea and skittles. It`s a case full of questions that
What took so long for the police to notify Trayvon`s parents about the
death of their son? Why wasn`t the suspect, George Zimmerman arrested?
Why has he been able to claim self defense when the facts contradict that
claim that in fact he chased Trayvon? And why weeks later, Zimmerman is
still free and still able to carry a weapon?
For the next hour, we will try to answer these questions and in the
name of justice for Trayvon Martin.
Joining me now are Trayvon Martin`s parents, Tracy Martin, Sybrina
Fulton, and their family lawyer, Benjamin Crump. Thank you for being here
And I noticed this is difficult, but as we head into Florida before
the big rally tomorrow night, let me start with you. You are the mother.
We talked to the father and Mr. Crump on the show the other night. You
said all you want is justice, you want Zimmerman arrested?
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: And how have you been handling this? I read somewhere you
made a statement that is obviously beneath until you see some form of
justice with the arrest of this man?
FULTON: Yes, my heart is hardened right now. I`m finding it
difficult to do just daily things right now. In addition to grieving, I`m
just consumed with the fact that this guy has not been arrested who
murdered my son. So that is very difficult for me as a mother. I cry
every day. There is a hole in my heart because that was my baby.
Regardless of how old he gets, he was my baby. So it`s difficult for me on
a daily basis. But I`m just trying to take one day at a time and I know
that God is in control.
SHARPTON: The strength that you and the mother have shown has been
amazing. Let me ask you, why did it take the police so long to contact
you? Do you know?
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: Actually, I contacted the
SHARPTON: So they never made contact?
MARTIN: Not the initial contact. I called Trayvon was missing, I
called missing persons, filed a missing person`s report. At that time,
they sent officers out. They dispatched. They told me they are going to
dispatch a couple - I mean, dispatch a unit to the residence. They called
back about ten minutes later and asked what he had last been seen wearing
and gave a description of him. I told them what he had on.
SHARPTON: How long had he been missing when this was going now?
MARTIN: Since he had left the house, which had to have been over 12
hours, 12 or 13 hours.
SHARPTON: OK. And then what happened?
MARTIN: Three units pulled up. There was an unmarked car and a
service aid car which, the service aid car was a chaplain in it. I didn`t
know it because he just had on a regular uniform. The first officer that
approached I identified myself and said I was filing a missing person`s
report. The second officer approached, he introduced himself as a major
crimes investigator. At that time it didn`t register to me. He asked me
to describe my son. I described him to him. He told gave him a second.
He walked to his vehicle, grabbed a folder, came back and asked to come in
the house. We went in to the house. He actually asked me to sit down and
I sat down. He pulled out a picture of my son on the ground dead, asked if
it was my son, and I confirmed that it was.
SHARPTON: Now attorney Crump, why couldn`t Trayvon have had a cell
phone. Why could they looked at the cell phone and trace the numbers and
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY`S ATTORNEY: Well, it`s one of the
things you would ask yourself. The police have a subpoena power. They
could have subpoenaed those records and staffs to find out who he was. But
even more relevant than that, Reverend Al, is they could have knocked on
the doors around that apartment complex and say, is your son here, is your
son missing, because Trayvon had a baby face. And they initially just
accept that Zimmerman`s version as the gospel that this was some little
thug who was trying to break in people`s houses that he wasn`t aware. A
good, fair, and impartial investigation would have said, let`s see find out
if this kid lives in the neighborhood? They didn`t do that. They just --
SHARPTON: They didn`t go around and ask people did they know him?
CRUMP: No. No.
SHARPTON: And then, I understand, they drug tested him and not
CRUMP: Exactly. It doesn`t make sense when you think about, he is
dead on the ground, and you do a background check on him, but you don`t do
a background check on the shooter. You do a drug and alcohol analysis on
him, but you don`t background check on the double gesture - this teenager,
it makes no sense. How do you explain to -- if Trayvon would have been the
shooter, I guarantee they would have done a background check on him.
SHARPTON: When you heard the 911 tapes, I`m sure this is probably one
of the worst moments of your life. How did you feel, and what reaction
inside as a mother did you have hearing the actual encounter with the man
that ended up killing Trayvon?
FULTON: When I heard the 911 tapes, I was absolutely sure that it was
my baby crying for help. It hurt my heart. My heart was aching because I
knew I wasn`t able to help him.
SHARPTON: So you convinced that one yelling help on the tapes was
your son, Trayvon?
FULTON: Yes, it is. Most definitely that`s my son.
SHARPTON: The reason that`s important because Zimmerman has said that
that`s him or some people said it was him, but you`re sure the one
screaming for help on those tapes was your son?
FULTON: I`m sure that`s my son. That`s my baby.
SHARPTON: You said to me when you were on the show last week, that
you all raised Trayvon to be orderly, and to be diligent. And you`re a
family. You are not in an Italian dividing, uniting organizations, you all
just regular people making a living. So you had no ax to grind. So this
must have been just something surreal to you out of nowhere to be in the
middle of all of this when all your son did was, go to the store to get
some skittles and iced tea.
MARTIN: Yes. And it is disturbing. And we have instilled in our
kids that you have to be patient with individuals that you don`t know. And
Trayvon knew that being approached by a strange individual -- he knew that
he was going to have to make a decision. Let me walk fast, get away,
whatever. He was not a confrontational kid, but he wasn`t going to be
accosted by someone that he didn`t know.
MARTIN: They keep saying over and over that the stand your ground
law. Trayvon was standing his ground. He didn`t know who this guy was.
It was a stranger. In today`s society you have pedophiles, murders,
kidnappers. He didn`t know what he was up against; he just wanted to get
SHARPTON: Attorney Crump?
CRUMP: Yes. Reverend Sharpton, it`s real important what happened
yesterday. It showed that what Zimmerman said was not accurate at all
because Trayvon was a kid like many teenagers. They talk on the phone
constantly. His mother and father said he always had an earpiece in his
SHARPTON: You`re talking about him talking to the young lady, 16-
year-old young lady that he is dating?
CRUMP: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: On the phone when --
CRUMP: The whole time when he went to store, when he came back from
store. All day, they talk. When you look at the cell phone records that
blows Zimmerman`s testimony out of the water. Because she says and it`s so
logical when she tells the story. He was walking home from that 7-eleven,
and it started raining. He ran into the complex, had to hit the code, got
into the gate, went to the first building he saw to get out of the rain.
Stood there, let the rain subside, then he starts that walking back. She
calls him back because he got off when it was raining.
CRUMP: And then he says I think this dude is following me. And he
says I really think he is following me. He`s kind a walk slow to see if he
is following him, and then she says you should run home. And that`s when
Trayvon was and then you hear Zimmerman on the 911 tape saying "he is
running now" and she is listening to Trayvon gives her a play by play. And
the most telling thing, reverend Sharpton, is her last call, she calls at
6:54 and they talk for a minute. Then at 7:12 she calls and the police,
they stone records, get there at 7:17. And when they get there, Trayvon
Martin has been shot and is dead on the ground. Her call on the phone
records lasted four minutes. She heard the first part of the altercation.
She said Trayvon turned around and said "why are you following me?" and the
voice said "why are you in here? What are you doing around here?"
SHARPTON: Let`s take a break. We are with Trayvon Martin`s parents
and their lawyer. Please stay with us and we will continue our
conversation right after this.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, part two of our exclusive conversation with
the parents of Trayvon Martin, their fight for justice, their view on the
local police, and why Trayvon was a hero to them. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation" and our conversation with
the parents of Trayvon Martin. Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton, and their
attorney Benjamin Crump.
Let me ask you, attorney Crump. When you first came on, even before
you came on with the father when we first talked to give this out
nationally, you and I made a point of demanding for the family, you were
saying that you want to deny 911 tapes released. And according to the
Sanford police department, they said "many times specific information is
contained in those recordings that are vital to the integrity of the
investigation. Should it be revealed, it could compromise the integrity of
the investigation prior to its completion." That`s why they didn`t release
CRUMP: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: But then they said that there was not probable cause and
they have completed the investigation, so why have they held the tapes so
CRUMP: It, reverend, made no sense. We had to sue them to have
released of the 911 tapes. It`s amazing what this family has to go to
SHARPTON: You had to sue to get the 911 tape?
CRUMP: We had to sue to get the 911 tapes. They were not going to
release those tapes, and to the end, their investigation. We all know
these investigations can go for a year so they can sweep is under the rug.
Now, what`s telling, Chief Lee said when the tapes came out, it was going
help bolster Zimmerman`s self-defense account. Everybody in America has
heard these tapes. I don`t see why it bolsters --
SHARPTON: It showed that he was pursuing Trayvon and he was not being
CRUMP: Right, and I think that`s why they did not was to release 911
tapes because we keep hearing with our ears that child crying for help
before that fatal shot.
SHARPTON: Let me show this. Police chief said that they would -
could not arrest Zimmerman until they had a probable cause. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BILL LEE, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Zimmerman made the
statement of self defense. And so, we can`t establish probable cause to
dispute that, we don`t have the grounds to arrest him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And that`s him last week. Probable cause, you have a dead
young man. You have 911 tapes saying he was pursuing the young man. He is
not even an official watch patrol guy. He is not registered. What else do
you need for probably cause?
CRUMP: Reverend, you have three independent witnesses who also came
forward and say that it was Trayvon Martin who was crying for help, not
Zimmerman. These are three people who don`t know this family at all, but
when they came forward, Mary Cucher, they attack her credibility. You say
it`s an independent witness, you just take their opinion, and that`s enough
for probable cause. Because based on what they say, reverend Al, and we
all just heard, they really say they have no evidence to contradict his
self-defense claim. A 911 tape, three witnesses, a dead child with a bag
SHARPTON: And we have no evidence to port the self-defense claim, in
fact, the contrary.
CRUMP: He is the only person that has put forth the self-defense
claim, and they say because he has a busted know, I`m going back and say.
Mr. Martin said, and I wholeheartedly agree with it, that well, he went and
initiated the altercation. If they got an altercation, he got a bloody
nose. He still started it. So it`s crazy for them to say he can shoot
SHARPTON: What kind of a young man was Trayvon? And we hear some
things about Zimmerman, his father saying what he`s like to tell the
country? What type of person was your son?
FULTON: Trayvon was a loving person. Trayvon liked to be around his
family. Trayvon loved kids. Trayvon is an outdoor guy. He likes sports,
football, basketball, baseball, skiing, horseback riding, anything outside,
he loves. But he is fun loving guy. He liked to listen to music and he
like to just hang around and be with his family and be with his friends.
SHARPTON: And he never got into any legal trouble unlike the guy that
killed him. He was a good kid in any encounters with the law.
MARTIN: He had never been in trouble with the law. He`s always had
respect for the law. He has been around law authority all his life. His
grandfather was police for 30 years. He respects the law.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, and we talked, obviously in private.
There have been a lot of people that have come out now in support from
entertainers to athletes, thousands and thousands of people that will be
with us tomorrow night, this is going to be a long battle, and we don`t
know how long -- but we believe in our heart we can win.
Tell the country, are you determine to hang in there no matter what
until this over?
FULTON: Until the day I die. I`m a mother. And I want justice for
my son, and I won`t stop until I receive that.
MARTIN: Reverend Al, Trayvon was my hero. He saved my life. At 9-
year-old, Trayvon pulled me out of a burning fire, went back in the house,
retrieved a cell phone, and called 911.
SHARPTON: When your house was on fire?
MARTIN: Yes. If it had not been for 911, for Trayvon at 9-year-old
calling 911, I would not be here today.
SHARPTON: I never knew this. So, your house was on fire, you were
trapped, and Trayvon called 911 at 9-years-old?
MARTIN: Trayvon pulled me out of the kitchen, out of the burning
kitchen, went back in the house, retrieved the phone, came back out and
called 911. I will not stop fighting for justice for Trayvon until I die.
He gave his life. He almost gave his life for me. I won`t stop until I
get justice for him.
SHARPTON: Attorney Crump, justice, what do we want?
CRUMP: We want him to be arrested and convicted for killing this
child. They keep passing the buck, passing the buck, from the police to
the state attorney, now to the grand jury, and they are hoping that it will
die down and they`ll sweep it under the rug.
I must tell you this, Reverend Sharpton, consider this. Why was it so
easy for the police to accept Zimmerman`s version of what happened. It`s
like his life wasn`t that important for them to do a fair and thorough
investigation. They did not do a background check on the shooter who had
just shot this little black child in cold blood. They didn`t do a drug and
alcohol analysis. You have to ask, unless we have people like you
involved, how easy it would have been to just sweep this under the rug, his
life doesn`t matter.
SHARPTON: Well, let me say, I know it`s painful, a lot of moving
around, but I wanted the country to see on the eve of the big rally
tomorrow, you know from you, and know that this is not anything with
termination for justice for the mother and father. And commit, we will be
there until we get justice. I have faith we can do it, and I appreciate
and respect both of you.
CRUMP: Thank you for being there from the beginning.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton, and Benjamin Crump, thank you for your
time tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. And we will be there
MARTIN: Thank you.
FULTON: Thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you, sir.
SHARPTON: Thank you. Coming up a question of justice, we`ll examine
the conduct of the Sanford police department. Why did they handle the
Trayvon Martin case this way? We must find out for justice to be served.
Plus, we`re learning much more about George Zimmerman, much more, far
from being squeaky clean. He had a record, and that record needs to be
part of this story. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: He was a 17-year-old high school junior, who as his mother
toll us, was a fun loving guy that liked being with his family and friends.
Now the death of Trayvon Martin has reverberated to the most powerful
people in the country.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement about the
justice department investigation saying quote, "the loved ones of Trayvon
Martin will get the answers to their many questions and the community will
be given help to heal."
Earlier, a White House press secretary, Jay Carney, commented on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My thoughts and prayers go
out to Trayvon Martin`s family, but obviously we`re not going to wade into
a local law enforcement matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Florida senator, Bill Nelson, told us quote, "it`s a
tragedy that Trayvon Martin was killed, the justice department is right to
Florida senator, Marco Rubio, who voted for the controversial stand
your ground law, winning as a state lawmaker, called the federal
investigation quote, positive says quote, "let the justice department go in
before people rush to judgment on whether a change in the law is
The death of Trayvon Martin is sparking reaction from some of the most
powerful men and women in the country. But in the town of Sanford, Florida
justice has still not been served. Why not? We`ll talk about police
conduct. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."
At the heart of the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin lie the
questions of justice and the conduct of the police. Today, the Sanford
Florida police chief, Bill Lee, issued this explanation. Saying quote "Mr.
Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense. By
Florida`s statue law enforcement was prohibited from making an arrest."
So, let me get this straight, a self-appointed neighborhood watch dog,
armed himself with a nine millimeter handgun, shoots Trayvon Martin in cold
blood and people let him because he claimed it was self-defense. What
about the fact the Zimmerman had an arrest record? What about the fact
that he had 911 operator -- 911 operator told Zimmerman not to pursue?
What about the fact that Trayvon`s father had to contact police, not the
other way around?
This is outrageous and there`s too much we still don`t know.
Joining me now is Zachary Carter, the former U.S. attorney in the
eastern district of New York, fist African-American to serve as U.S.
attorney in New York. He is now part of the law firm of Darcey and
Whitney. He is so distinguish that in private practice, I have relied on
his council myself. He has day off me.
What do you make of this self-defense argument, Mr. Carter?
ZACHARY CARTER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well first of all, you don`t
accept the word, obviously of a person under investigation that it was
self-defense. That defense has to be supported by evidence. Not just the
defendant`s or accused statement but all of the surrounding circumstance.
And of course, in this case, where you have 911 tapes, where you have
testimony of neighbors who witnessed various parts of the account and made
calls to 911 themselves to report what they observed. You don`t
necessarily rely on just what the accused has said with respect to their
defense of self-defense.
SHARPTON: Now consistent with that is a statement was issued today by
the former Republican state representative, Dennis Baxley, who was the one
that was behind this law, the stand your ground law. And he issued a
statement saying quote "as the prime sponsor of this legislation in the
Florida house, I would like to clarify that this law does not seem to be
applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford."
So, he is using a self-defense law that even the prime sponsor of the
law in the state say it doesn`t seem applicable to me. So, what is the
police chief talking about?
CARTER: Well, that`s hard to fathom. Under the Florida law, you have
a right to stand your ground and to retreat in the face of force. But
those principals of being able to retreat and stand your ground are not
implicated in a situation when someone is running away from you as oppose
to advancing toward you. So, that law would not be applicable as least as
I understand the facts in a situation like this.
SHARPTON: Now, you were a prosecutor, you are a federal prosecutor
and handled among others famous act, (INAUDIBLE) case where we were
involved in the movement on the outside, and as a prosecutor, if you hear
this tape, the operator tells Zimmerman, he does not have to follow Trayvon
but - take this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
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 you to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, he is following him. We don`t need you to do that.
OK. But then he follows him anyway and then something happens and he kills
him. Wouldn`t that, as a prosecutor, that at least bring into question of
whether there was self-defense here, and you would need more than the
statement of the shooter in order to back up his claim?
CARTER: Absolutely, because the 911 operator really gave or re-
enforce the kind of instructions that police agencies almost and bravely
give to civilian volunteers who are either part of formal or informal
neighborhood watch volunteers. And that is to observe, and report, but
don`t take direct action. And apparently, either because of his own common
sense, and professionalism, or because he was trained to do so, this 911
operator, knowing that he was confronting a situation that was unfolding
rapidly. It could be dangerous, admonished this guy, "don`t take action,
it`s not necessary." The fact that he ignored that would be useful
evidence to the prosecutor in analyzing whether or not this person was
acting in self defense, or instead, put himself in harm way or the
potential of it.
SHARPTON: Let`s bring in Congresswoman Corrine Browne, Democrat from
Florida. The shooting happened in her district and she was a leading voice
calling for the justice department to investigate.
Good evening, Congresswoman Brown.
REP. CORRINE BROWN (D), FLORIDA: Hello there, leader.
SHARPTON: Now, we`re talking with former U.S. Attorney, Zach Carter,
and the family just left. But you have been very vocal and adamant and
helped to bring about the justice department to help look into this matter,
BROWN: Well, because having been involved in it, you know first of
all, there is no great ending, but what we have to do is make this a
learning experience and how can we take this and make it not right, but
make it fair.
First of all it can`t be fair until the shooter is arrested, that`s
the first thing. He must be arrested because as we speak, he still has a
permit and a gun. That`s unacceptable. Any time you have a confrontation
with a police officer and it`s a shooting, that police officer is given
desk duty while the investigation is going on. Well, that`s not the case.
And keep in mind, that this shooter was self-appointed community
watch. They didn`t have an official community watch. So, in the procedure
with the community watch, they tell you, do not follow. Call the police.
You know, stand down. Why did he do that? Five minutes.
This young man was not in the act of doing anything that was
incorrect. He was just walking at that point, and happened to be black in
a neighborhood where he is supposed to be. So what stopped him from
waiting for the police officer?
SHARPTON: Now, congresswoman, the commissioner -- Sanford city
commissioner says about the cry for help heard on the tape, I played it in
the early segment, and the mother of Trayvon says she is sure that is her
baby. He says "the Sanford police department is confident it is not
Trayvon Martin crying for help on the tape. That it is George Zimmerman."
One, I don`t know how she makes that determination based on what.
It`s a direct contradiction to what mother said on the show tonight. But,
can you see why the family and many of your constituents don`t have
confidence in the local authorities here?
BROWN: Absolutely, but this is one of the reasons I wanted the tape
released. You have the tape in hand. You have the where with all to have
the tape analyzed, and clearly one of the confident is that we now have the
You know, we don`t have the arrest, but we have the tape. We have a
full investigation going on with the justice department. So basically
we`re working on making sure that everything moves forward as we speak.
Things that should have happened did not happen. I mean, you know, the
young man, Mr. Martin was tested for drugs.
BROWN: Tested for alcohol, but yet the shooter was not tested.
BROWN: There is something wrong with this picture.
SHARPTON: Now, Mr. Carter, listen to what a witness says, let me let
you hear what a witness says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY CUTCHER, WITNESS: We were in the kitchen, I heard the crying.
It was a little boy. As soon as the gun went off, the crying stopped. I
firmly believe this was not self-defense. My point was, is that I feel it
was not self-defense because I heard the crying, and if it was Zimmerman
that was crying, Zimmerman would have continued crying after the shot went
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So if you`re hearing this again, back in your prosecuting
days, you have a witness saying she heard the crying and stopped with the
shooting, she does not feel it was Zimmerman, the mother says this, and
you`re looking at a local official says we`re sure it`s Zimmerman. Doesn`t
it raise a level of concern to you?
CARTER: Well, it raises concern about whether or not the impotence is
being fairly evaluated. But one thing I think is important to point out is
about some of the handicaps and limits of a federal investigation.
CARTER: The federal authorities are going to have to prove under the
applicable civil rights laws that Zimmerman acted with a intent to deprive
Mr. Martin of his civil rights. His right to travel in that area, because
of his race. And that is a very difficult challenge. It is the equivalent
of proving an intentional homicide.
By contrast, if the state authorities were to act professionally and
responsibly, they would have a far broader array of charges from criminal
negligence to recklessness and manslaughter, intentional homicide.
SHARPTON: This is the state --
CARTER: The state or the city. Under state laws generally speaking,
you have a full array of possible charges, and none of them would require
anyone to prove that race was a motive. And I`m sure; you may remember
that James Farmer, who was famously quoted for saying that in America, we
tend to live in the 51st state for issues of race, the state of denial.
You can imagine what the challenges for a prosecutor to prove that
Zimmerman acted on a racial bias.
SHARPTON: We`re going to stay on this and we`ll have you back to help
us with this through this. The former U.S. attorney Zachary Carter.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown, I`m on my way to your district. I will
see you down there for the rally.
BROWN: Absolutely. You know - but I have a question for the state
attorney. My question is, can the family just go down to the police
office, and bring charges against this man and ask to him arrested?
CARTER: Well, in most jurisdictions that would be theoretically
possible. But quite frankly at this stage, and as terrible as it is for
the family, for them to believe that the person who killed their son is at
liberty, there can be no higher priority than getting this right.
SHARPTON: We are going to make sure that happens.
Let me thank you both for your time, see you at the rally tomorrow
BROWN: All right. I`ll be there.
SHARPTON: Coming up, new details about the shooter in the case,
George Zimmerman, we`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: More as we pure suit the case of justice for Trayvon
Martin, and new information on the shooter, George Zimmerman.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. We`re learning new troubling details about
Trayvon Martin`s shooter, a neighborhood watch volunteer, self-appointed
named George Zimmerman. He seemed obsessed with law enforcement, but he
had a checkered past of his own.
To learn more, let me bring in Jeff Weiner, reporter of "the Orlando
Sentinel." He is writing about George Zimmerman today, and Joe Madison,
nationally syndicated host, "Mornings with Madison" on Sirius XM radio. He
will be rallying with us tomorrow night in Sanford, Florida.
Thanks to both of you, for your time.
JOE MADISON, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON:
JEFFREY WEINER, REPORTER, THE ORLANDO SENTINEL: Thanks, rev.
SHARPTON: Jeff, as we learn more about him, is there is sense that
George Zimmerman thought he was above the law, and maybe part of the law,
and we are told that he, himself, was clean -- squeaky clean. Yet, we find
out that you uncovered he had several encounters with the law.
WEINER: He did. He applied to be part of the citizen`s academy that
was run by the sheriff`s office. It`s a non-law enforcement role that is
meant to educate the public, but he did expressed he wanted to be a law
He arrested in 2005, accused essentially for shoving a drug agent who
was arresting a friend of his outside of a bar in University of central
Florida. He has had some reports of domestic violence in his past that did
not involve arrests involving an ex-fiance of his who accused him of
attacking her back in 2005.
And he also -- there have been at least two occasions where he has
pursued someone he believed to be committing a crime. For one example, in
2003, he followed someone out of an Albertson`s parking lot who he had seen
shoplifting a television. He reported the incident to the sheriff`s office
and some of the county and followed the person until a deputy could arrive
to arrest that person. The following year, he did the same with someone he
said has spit on his car and that person was ultimately not arrested.
SHARPTON: So he seemed to be overly aggressive, is that the picture?
WEINER: He seemed to be someone that very much aspired to be law
enforcement or act as law enforcement and someone who on occasion was
willing to take action to fulfill that aspiration.
SHARPTON: But Joe, taking action, being overzealous against people
you think are committing crime is one thing. Pushing a law enforcement
officer, assaulting a law enforcement officer being arrested for that, and
being accused of domestic violence in assaulting your girlfriend, that
really had nothing to do with pursuing some justice or being overzealous.
So, we get the picture that this guy had violent tendencies at least
according to accusations and an arrest. Now, if you are the police, and
you are looking at this, and you`re looking at a kid who never had any
altercation with the law, how come every time they had a close call, they
sided with Zimmerman, the one with has the trouble?
MADISON: Well, you know, I`ll just call it what it is, nobody wants
to say it, but it - well, we do want to say it, it is just pure racism.
And let`s just call it exactly what it is. The fact that they would even
do a blood test on the corpse of Trayvon, and not the blood test on the
person who now by the way, has gun. He still has his permit and gun.
SHARPTON: Let me -- because I`m short on time, but I want to ask you
this specifically because it really bothers me. The Miami herald quotes
Stanford police Chief Bill Lee on the state of the investigation. I want
to show you this because you have to answer this for me.
Quote "we are taking a beating over this" -- this is the police chief
in Sanford. "It is very unsettling. I`m sure if George Zimmerman had the
opportunity to relive Sunday, February 26, he would probably do things
differently. I`m sure Trayvon would too."
Well, first of all, how does he know the character of George Zimmerman
and what he would do differently, and what did Trayvon do wrong that he
would do differently? Trayvon went and bought some skittles, and an iced
tea, and walked home. What would he have done differently?
MADISON: Look, when I was 17-years-old, I was planning for my prom.
When I was 17-years-old, I had a girlfriend. When I was 17-years-old, I
was planning to go to college and play football. When I was 17 years old,
I was planning to graduate from high school.
You know, this chief of police has some nerve, identifying more with a
sailing than he does with this dead young kid who won`t to go to high
school, won`t go to college, who won`t go to senior prom, who won`t have a
girlfriend, who won`t have a life, who is dead. He ought to be identifying
with the parents you interviewed today. This shows you just how - I mean,
this chief of police ought to resign now. And tomorrow evening when we`re
there, that`s exactly what I`m asking for. He just ought to just step
SHARPTON: I think that you and others have said that. I think that
may be too kind. I think that they need to be investigated -- resignation
maybe the least, some of them should be facing - some of them may face more
serious problems if this investigation goes where I think it possibly could
Joe Madison and Jeff Weiner, thanks for your time tonight.
MADISON: See you tomorrow.
Still ahead, some problem inside about a growing up, like Trayvon,
young and black in America.
Writer, Jonathan Capehart, wrote an emotional piece about his own
experience and took us on a personal journey back to his home town. You
don`t want to miss this.
SHARPTON: Welcome back, "Washington Post" writer Jonathan Capehart
has written a powerful column about the challenges faced by young African-
American men like Trayvon Martin. Challenges, Jonathan also face growing
Early today, I went with him back home to Newark, New Jersey to his
home to hear his story.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, this Trayvon Martin story has the whole country
really focused in on things that you and I just know naturally.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Right.
SHARPTON: We`re here where you -- one of the homes you grew up in,
tell us where we are.
CAPEHART: We`re here on Meeker Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. We
moved here when mom re-married. I was 16.
SHARPTON: You were 16.
CAPEHART: I was 16-year-old.
SHARPTON: And you lived here.
CAPEHART: We lived in that house right over there.
SHARPTON: You were, when you lived here, a year younger than Trayvon
was when he was killed in Sanford, Florida?
CAPEHART: Yes, a year younger. And so, I moved from this suburban
rural environment back to an urban environment. And the rules of living in
an urban environment are different. I had to learn how to get from home to
the bus stop, which bus` to take to get to school.
SHARPTON: So you would go to the bus stop to get to school?
CAPEHART: Right. So I would leave the house and walk down this hill.
SHARPTON: Down this hill?
CAPEHART: Down this hill, down to the bus stop.
SHARPTON: To the bus, OK.
CAPEHART: I would do this every day.
SHARPTON: So you learn these don`ts.
CAPEHART: Right. And these were lessons that were tough to hear at 16
years old. Don`t run in public. Let someone find you suspicious. Don`t
run in public with anything in your hands, someone will think you stole
something. And then the other one, don`t talk back to the police.
Now, I understand that this is a universal rule. No one should talk
back to the police no matter who they are. But when you`re African-
American it takes on a greater significance.
SHARPTON: You have been warned about how police might perceive you or
how police might misconstrue who you are?
CAPEHART: Right. Right. You know, that police for whatever reason,
might not like the way I look. Might find me suspicious. And the key is,
don`t give them a reason, don`t give the police a reason to stop you.
That what hit me so hard about Trayvon Martin. He was 17. I was 16
when I moved in this neighborhood. I could have been Trayvon Martin. And
even though this is 2012, the horror, the additional horror of the Trayvon
Martin story is realizing that I still could be Trayvon Martin because of
someone else`s suspicion.
SHARPTON: That`s why many of us are fighting so hard for justice in
this, and the arrest of Zimmerman, because, I have been that 16-year-old
kid. I also got daughters now. What do we tell our kids now? Don`t go to
the store and get skittles, don`t buy iced tea, don`t wear a hoody? I
mean, what do we tell them now? Unless, we can bring this to justice and
the nation has to deal with the fact, you just can`t do this to people.
CAPEHART: This guy, very well, could get away with murder because we
have seen it happen time and time again.
SHARPTON: And for a guy like me, you say you covered for years, it`s
like we can put an African-American in the White House, and still can`t
walk our kids through the neighborhoods? And we`re not at all minimizing
the impact of that and the progress the country has made, but we can`t act
like we`re there yet.
CAPEHART: We can`t act like we`re in the clear, OK this is done,
let`s go home. The problem is solved. The problem is not solved. And
anyone that thought the problem was solved just needs to read the stories
about Trayvon Martin and what happened on that night, February 26th, in
SHARPTON: Just two weeks ago when attorney Crump called me, we were
re-doing the steps in Martin Luther King who said that people should be
judged by their character, not their color. We must fight until all of us
are judged that way.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "Hardball" stars right now.
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