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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Joy-Ann Reid, Charles Blow, Daryl Parks, Charles Haase, Eugene O`Donnell, Grant
Fredricks, Mayor Jeff Triplett, Brandon Smith, Charles Blow, Farai Chideya,
Jonathan Capehart, Eugene O`Donnell



LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Breaking news tonight in the case of
the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The shooter`s brother has just given an interview with what is now
the family version of what happened to George Zimmerman before he decided
to pull the trigger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S BROTHER: George was out of breath, he was barely
conscious. His last thing he remembers doing was moving his head from the
concrete to the grass so that if he was banged one more time, he wouldn`t
be, you know, wearing diapers for the rest of his life and being spoon fed
by his brother and there would be have George dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But also tonight, a new witness gave this description of
George Zimmerman immediately after the fatal shot was fired.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS (via telephone): That he was walking towards
where I was watching and I could see him a little bit clearer and see that
it was a Hispanic man and he was -- he didn`t appear hurt or anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And we now have another angle of that Sanford Police
Department video showing George Zimmerman`s condition when he was brought
to the police department just 34 minutes after the fatal shooting.

Joining me now are: Daryl Parks, an attorney for the Martin family,
Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of "The Grio" and MSNBC contributor, Charles
M. Blow, editorial writer for "The New York Times," Jonathan Capehart,
"Washington Post" editorial writer and MSNBC political analyst.

Charles Blow, in the developments that we`ve heard with witnesses
tonight, we`re hearing from George Zimmerman`s brother, something very
similar to what we heard his father say in a FOX -- local FOX interview
last night. In fact, I want everyone to listen to what his father said
about what happened to his son and the beating -- his version of that last
night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FATHER: After nearly a minute
of being beaten, George was trying to get his head off the concrete, trying
to move with Trayvon on him into the grass. In doing so, his firearm was
shown. Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of "You`re going to die
now," or "You`re going to die tonight," something to that effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Charles, I was struck in tonight`s interview with the
brother, that the more you watch it, the longer it went on, the more
practiced and rehearsed it seemed to be.

CHARLES BLOW, "NEW YORK TIMES": See, what we have to remember, we
have a real danger of getting lost in --

O`DONNELL: And, by the way, that doesn`t mean it`s not true, but it
was a very ready performance.

BLOW: Right, but these are not witnesses. These are proxies for
George Zimmerman. And --

O`DONNELL: But importantly from an evidentiary standpoint, they are
claiming George Zimmerman told me this. His brother says, my brother told
me this. His father says, my son told me this.

BLOW: Right.

O`DONNELL: So this is high quality in terms of George Zimmerman
testimonial evidence.

BLOW: Well, right, but what we have -- what you have to do in
parsing what they`re saying is you see a shift away from Trayvon Martin was
pummeling me much that that was going to lead to my death, now that we see
that the marks on his face and his back do not look, at least from what we
can see from grainy video, to be life-threatening, that he is walking of
his own volition, that there`s now a witness who says he pops up, springs
up right after the shooting and what he`s on the top or on the bottom, we
don`t know, but he`s -- it doesn`t look like he was within an inch of his
life.

So, now, both last night and tonight you hear this new emphasis on he
went for my gun, which is a kind of a legal tactical change which says even
if he was not going to kill me with force, he may have been trying to kill
me with a weapon and that is why I used my weapon to defend myself,

And, but, see, what we have to remember is we need to move this thing
out of the court of public opinion and into a courtroom where people are
under oath, are being cross-examined because what we have right now did a
bunch of people coming out and giving George`s version of the story.

O`DONNELL: And, Jonathan Capehart, when you get to that forum, you
get to make some credibility assessments of people. You get to notice
things about testimony in detail. It is interesting that they`ve had a
month and George Zimmerman`s father actually released a public statement
fairly early in this process, asking for understanding and extending his
sad feelings for the family of Trayvon Martin, but not saying as he
presumably could have at that time if he`s telling the truth now, Trayvon
Martin tried to take my son`s gun away.

He had an opportunity to say that in his written statement. He had
an opportunity to say, Trayvon Martin said this to my son before my son
decided I`m going to have to kill him.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": And notice, we`re now
hearing this after last week which was -- after Charles` terrific op-ed in
"The Times" on that Saturday, the firestorm that erupted over what happened
to Trayvon Martin -- you got the statement from George Zimmerman`s father
and then you got the push-back this week from, you know, some source within
inside the Sanford police department leaking George Zimmerman`s side of
what happened.

You have other people coming forward, Joe Oliver, coming forward and
saying, you know, my close friend would never do this and that we should
trust his gut and things like that.

Yes, George Zimmerman`s father had the opportunity to say all of
those things when he put that statement out. He did not.

And I think, Charles, you raise a very good point in terms of the
shift in -- the shift in their story.

O`DONNELL: The problem for them as they kept listening to this story
is, hey, this doesn`t sound too good. It`s someone with a gun against a
kid with Skittles and iced tea. Is there a way to get a gun to the kid
with the Skittles and the iced tea? Well, there`s this way.

I want to bring in a ballistics expert, Charles Haase, a ballistics
expert who worked for the NYPD for 20 years, covered -- was in the
ballistics department there, covered thousands of crime scenes.

Charles Haase, we had some testimony as it were, or television
testimony from this witness, who said it was very, very dark. He could not
make out specifics very much of what he was looking at in this altercation.
He said one person was on top of the other very clearly. It was his sense,
but he couldn`t be absolutely sure of it that it was the person on top who
did the shooting.

And when asked if he saw, which is a relevant ballistics question, if
he saw any sort of flame, any sort of spark or anything that might have
emerged from the end of a barrel of a gun, he said he couldn`t see that.
With this 9 mm weapon that we know was used in this incident, would you see
any sort of flame, any sort of spark emerging from the barrel of that gun?

CHARLES HAASE, BALLISTICS EXPERT (via telephone): In the darkness,
yes, you -- under normal conditions you would see muzzle flash. But what
we have to take into consideration here is the position of the witness in
relationship to the two people on the ground. If the firearm were between
the two people and the witness could not actually see the firearm but --
then the muzzle flash could have been hidden between -- by the person
that`s on top, also, if the firearm were in contact or close contact to
Trayvon Martin as it was fired, that would also reduce or eliminate the
muzzle flash.

O`DONNELL: And, Charles, if you were the ballistics officer
responding to this scene, what would you want to gather in terms of
evidence and what would you be looking for? What would you suspect would
be involved in something like this? And how would you interact with other
investigative teammates there?

HAASE: Well, one of the things I would definitely want to see would
be the clothing, Trayvon Martin`s clothing to see at this particular
distance there is going to be some type of gunshot residue on the clothing
and/or the actual torso of Trayvon Martin.

So I would want to be examining that, and then be able to duplicate
the gunshot residue pattern to be able to determine how far away the
firearm was from Trayvon when it was fired and then working hand in hand
with other investigators would be the ballistics crime scene detective
would then relay that information to people at the scene who would be
interviewing witnesses so -- and so, then be able to see if witnesses were
telling the truth. You know, if some witness was saying they were 10 feet
away but there was gunshot residue on the shirt, then we know that that`s
not a good witness.

So, ballistics and crime scene detectives at the scene work very
closely to responding detectives.

O`DONNELL: And when you combine a ballistics report with an autopsy
report, in some of these cases, you get 80 percent of the story right
there.

HAASE: Oh, absolutely. The medical examiner obviously they do an
in-depth examination, under perfect conditions, in the medical examiner`s
office under great lighting -- which is a whole lot better than doing it in
-- outside, at night, in the rain.

O`DONNELL: Charles Haase, thank you very much for joining us.

HAASE: You`re welcome, sir.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined by Daryl Parks. He is a forensic expert in
such cases. Going to take a look at the video on this -- I`m sorry, Daryl
Parks is a lawyer representing the Martin family. I`m sorry, we got our
introductions here confused.

What do you make of what you`ve heard from this new witness that
emerged tonight, not a lot of specifics in terms of sharp images that were
-- the witness was able to convey.

DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: Well, first of all, it shows that
there`s a very skilled strategy on the part of the Zimmerman family to
defend him and to put together a very calculated defense for him. As you
listen to this witness, he is very nonspecific, sometimes refers to his
brother.

I think that at the end of the day, the facts in this case are what
we`re going to have to follow, the 911 tape. I think the ballistics
aspects of it are going to be very important. And we think that the
eyewitnesses are extremely important because even the eyewitnesses who have
come out today clearly show that they were on the grass.

And in the tape that we saw from yesterday, we don`t see any great
injuries that they`re claiming. They`re claiming that he was beaten almost
to unconsciousness and as you look at him get out of that police cruiser,
he does not look like a person who had been beaten to almost
unconsciousness.

O`DONNELL: That beating would have been 35 minutes before you see
him with perfect balance, step out of the backseat of a police cruiser
handcuffed, alone with no help. And the witness that emerged tonight said
immediately after the shooting, he just got up and he, quote, "He didn`t
appear hurt or anything else."

And, in fact, that witness remarked at how quickly, how quickly
George Zimmerman got up seconds -- within seconds after that shot was fired
and that was part of what indicated to this witness that Zimmerman was
probably on top, the ease and the speed with which he stood right up.

PARKS: I have to agree with that. You know, when you listen to that
witness, who had a pretty good view and seems very certain, especially as
he talks about how as the shooter walked toward him and he got a better
view, it was clear to him that it was Mr. Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman has
done a crime and should be arrested.

O`DONNELL: I want to bring in Joy-Ann Reid, who`s been covering this
for "The Grio" down there in Florida.

Joy-Ann, there`s something in Mr. Zimmerman, the father`s statement
in the interview he gave last week where he kept talking about George saw
Trayvon walking behind the town houses. Why he used that phrase
repeatedly, walking behind the town houses, and he said there was something
very, very suspicious about him walking behind the town houses.

You`ve been to that location and in all the layouts that I`ve seen of
that location, there are paved walkways behind the townhouses -- and we see
right now the image of the shooting scene.

Tell us what it`s like right down there on that spot.

JOY-ANN REID, THE GRIO: Right. Well, Lawrence, the only place
behind the town houses that really is significant to this case is where the
actual shooting took place. It took place between two rows of town homes
with their backyards facing one another.

The problem for what George Zimmerman`s father is saying is that the
point of the pursuit on the other side of those town houses is all front
yards. So, if George Zimmerman were coming from his home at the back of
the complex and driving toward the front of the complex, all he`d see are
front yards and connected town homes.

O`DONNELL: Joy-Ann --

REID: So, it would be difficult to see anyone behind them.

O`DONNELL: Joy-Ann, we have the tape that you made of this location,
showing exactly how this happened. I just wanted -- it`s less than a
minute. I want to show the audience that so they can get this orientation
and they can see this place that the Zimmerman father tries to make sound
like a very mysterious dark alley that people should not be walking at.

Let`s take a look at your tape on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Trayvon Martin would have come down this lane attempting to
flee from George Zimmerman. Zimmerman had pursued him in his SUV from the
clubhouse just down there, up to this point where both Zimmerman and
Trayvon would have now been on foot. Trayvon would have come around this
lane attempting to get all the way down to the end which is where he was
going.

If you come down this lane you can see just how close Trayvon was to
home. He was headed just down to the end where his father`s girlfriend
lived.

The actual contact between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin would have
taken place right here behind this home. According to the 911 calls people
were saying I hear screaming outside my home. I hear a fight going on.
And then people reported, of course, hearing gunshots.

That fight would have taken place right here. Trayvon`s body was
found face down in the grass with George Zimmerman standing nearby.

So this is the area where Trayvon actually died.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy-Ann, do you have an understanding of how far from
that paved walkway was Trayvon`s body found?

REID: Well, that`s another interesting thing, because you do see as
you guys were talking about earlier, as Charles Blow mentioned earlier,
that you see the narrative being shaped to try to fit the facts, because
the facts are that Trayvon Martin`s body was found face down with his face
in the grass. So his feet would have been toward the concrete. So then
you`d have to explain how George Zimmerman was having his head bashed in on
the concrete but Trayvon ended up 180-degree turn with that with his feet
toward the concrete. That doesn`t make sense. Then he ended up face down.

So, the concrete is down the middle between the grassy backyards
which are all common. And, by the way, Lawrence, you know, people who live
there have said to local reporters that`s where the kids go and walk their
dogs. That`s where the children who live in the community play football
together.

You know, it`s not a sinister behind the town homes. It`s the
backyard.

O`DONNELL: And you can see, there`s trash receptacles there that are
set out for people who are obviously walking there. It`s very clearly not
some sort of sinister area and as you point out in your piece --

REID: And there`s a sidewalk.

O`DONNELL: -- it`s the direct -- it is the direct route to where
Trayvon Martin would walk to go home.

It also shows in the diagram just how far George Zimmerman had to run
from his car to the -- the car had to be parked out on that street. He had
to run around the corner of the building, take two turns to get up that
pathway, that far away from a car, in order to have this altercation and
contact in the first place.

We`re going to have to take a break right here.

Daryl Parks, before we go, I just wanted to ask you when you hear all
of this talk about the pavement and how the Zimmerman family accounts all
require -- they require, they demand that the pavement of that walkway be
under George Zimmerman`s head, that is a mandatory element of their story
in order to have the kind of head injury that gave George Zimmerman the
feeling that his life was at risk, a head injury for which -- as far as we
can tell -- there is absolutely no evidence on the police video at the
police station.

Does it sound to you like since the Zimmerman family hired a lawyer
for George, the evidence, the story that is coming from them is much more
elaborate, much more -- containing much more helpful detail to the theory
of the case presented by George Zimmerman, all of which, by the way, if
true would have been helpful to present in that very first public statement
that George Zimmerman`s father made?

PARKS: Well, it`s rather clear that this particular family as time
has gone has gotten far more sophisticated in the story they`re trying to
present. There are many problems, though. The story they`re trying to
present doesn`t match what the witnesses are seeing, doesn`t match what we
know from the 911 tapes. It is totally inconsistent.

In fact, some of the evidence you just presented here today, the long
distance that he had to walk all the way down into the paths, the alleyway
behind the town homes clearly indicates and contradicts what Zimmerman said
himself. When he says that he had to -- the guy was following him back to
the truck -- well, his truck was a distance away and Trayvon was almost
home. So that`s a total contradiction, but even more importantly, though,
it doesn`t make sense.

I mean, for folks have to use their common sense. This is not adding
up, folks.

And also why -- I mean he tries to say that Trayvon went for his gun,
Trayvon had iced tea and Skittles. That`s all he had.

This guy was walking around with a 9 mm weighs almost 100 pounds more
than Trayvon. This guy was a vigilante, who`s -- I mean, he took this
situation to what it is now and he killed Trayvon.

O`DONNELL: Daryl Parks, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

The rest of the crew is going to stay with me. Another point I want
to make just before we go to this break is that George Zimmerman`s father
keeps using the word walk. He never says run. He never allows for the
possibility that George Zimmerman ran after Trayvon.

Now, Trayvon`s running away. How do you follow someone who is
running away? You do that by running and we hear him on the 911 call, we
hear the breath of a person running but the Zimmerman family cannot allow
for the possibility that he was running.

There`s a tailoring of every little verb, every little fact to be --
it seems to me at this stage of the story -- just a little too neat.
That`s my little summation of this particular segment. We`re going to be
back with much more on the killing of Trayvon Martin and many more people
you haven`t heard from yet that you`re going to need to hear from to
understand where this stands tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: You`re looking at the full video of George Zimmerman
arriving at a police station. We now see more than one angle. We have two
different angles of George Zimmerman being escorted out of that police car.

Later in the tape, Zimmerman is led inside the station and then into
a room at the end of a long hallway where he was presumably interrogated by
police investigators.

We have two former police officers with us now. Eugene O`Donnell
returning to the show, former NYPD police officer and prosecutor. Also,
joining us by phone, Grant Fredricks, who is a forensic crime scene
analyst, expert in analyzing video.

Grant Fredricks, this is our first chance to ask you about this
video. What do you think of the relevant points to gather from what you`ve
seen on this video?

GRANT FREDRICKS, FORENSIC VIDEO EXPERT (via telephone): Well, I
think from the video itself it`s pretty clear that Mr. Zimmerman is able to
exit the police vehicle without any assistance. He stands at ease and
freely.

One point of I think important note is that one of the police
officers appears to examine the back of his head, which indicates there`s
something there and he did state that he was injured in the back of his
head, although the video doesn`t show any injury it doesn`t mean that there
wasn`t any. The video is highly compressed.

It`s kind of an odd way to release images to the public, the way that
the police department did it. The video has been produced in an odd way
that makes the objects look a little bit different, in other words, the
video has been squished in this case and so, Mr. Zimmerman appears to be
skinny, you know, thinner than he actually is. If the video is analyzed
and examined properly, it`s actually --

O`DONNELL: I think we have -- I think we have a version of it that
you`ve restored to the way it would actually give us the realistic image.
I think we`re going to see that now.

FREDRICKS: You know, so what you`re -- if you`re looking at the
image, what you`re seeing is that on one side you see an image of Mr.
Zimmerman who appears to be quite thin. The other image shows that he is
actually thicker in stature and weight. And so, you know --

O`DONNELL: Can we bring that up full screen? Don`t put it on those
little boxes on those screen. Push that up full screen.

It looks like we can`t do that. All right. I hope everyone at home
has big TVs so you can see these images.

FREDRICKS: Yes. I don`t think this was done for any nefarious
purpose. I think that it`s simply someone who produced it didn`t know how
to properly.

O`DONNELL: Grant Fredricks, can I ask you? Do you think there`s any
manipulation of this video, I don`t mean illegitimate manipulation, but
proper manipulation of this video that can answer the question about
whether there`s any kind of injury on the back of the head of George
Zimmerman?

FREDRICKS: Well, look, you know, let me be clear -- what was given
to the public and to the media through YouTube, the way that they released
it is not the best evidence. So it`s not something that they would
actually have.

What the police have is something with much more detail. But even
given that, they would obviously have taken their own photographs. They
wouldn`t be relying on surveillance videos set up to protect property in --

O`DONNELL: Let me quickly ask you and I`m going to go to Eugene
O`Donnell after you on this, too, about -- just in terms of procedure what
you`re seeing. You know, we see that moment where one of the officers rubs
the garment of George Zimmerman then he wipes something off of his hand.
Just police procedure that you`re watching there.

What`s your satisfaction level with the police procedure you`re
seeing?

FREDRICKS: Sorry, are you asking me.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Grant, go ahead.

FREDRICKS: Yes, well, you know normally at a crime scene, if we
arrest somebody in a homicide scene, we`re going to be bagging their hands.
We`re going to be bagging their feet or seizing their shoes, not allowing
them to walk around and I do note as he walks away from the carport area
and into the building, he actually rubs his feet and wipes his feet off on
a mat at the police department.

Now, those shoes contain evidence. They may contain he had of blood
spatter that might be on his shoes if there`s an allegation that he was
kicked or kicking. If he was injured, there would be his blood perhaps or
maybe Mr. Martin`s blood if he was bleeding.

So, the fact that they`ve allowed him to wipe off evidence, you know
is questionable. But I think your other guest might speak more to police
procedure.

L. O`DONNELL: Eugene, what you`ve seen in this video a lot, we got
some additional images of it tonight. We`re now learning those officers,
they should have bagged his feet. They should have got complete control of
his clothing.

EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYPD POLICE OFFICER: Sure. I mean, and the
idea they made a summary judgment and not perceived this case and how
you`re seeing that --

L. O`DONNELL: Do you get the feeling when you watch that behavior in
the station with them getting out of the car, these are officers who
already understand nothing is going to happen here? We don`t even have to
be careful of how this guy walks, we can walk in front of him. We don`t
have to worry if he might kick us.

I mean, there`s just no sense that something urgent or tense is going
on here.

E. O`DONNELL: I think there is a view of that video that suggests he
doesn`t -- he doesn`t appear to be -- he feels like he`s not -- it doesn`t
seem like a strange place to him. It seems like -- it doesn`t look like
the typical homicide suspect being taken into custody.

L. O`DONNELL: He certainly looks like -- look, it`s hard to judge a
guy in that state of trauma possibly, but it could also be given a sense
there`s nothing terribly much at risk here.

We`re going to have to take another break right here. We`re going to
be back with much more and much more of the new material that`s been
developed today in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news developments tonight in the case of
the killing of Trayvon Martin. A new witness has emerged. You will hear
more about that.

And another member of the Zimmerman family, this time George
Zimmerman`s brother, spoke tonight, giving new elements of the -- what has
now become the family story of what happened that night, before George
Zimmerman decided to pull the trigger to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin.

The mayor of Sanford, Florida, the current mayor of Sanford, Florida,
was elected over a year ago when the last police chief, before Bill Lee --
when they had other police problems there, that last police chief was
removed from office. This new mayor, who has been there a relatively short
time, has been through more police trouble than you could imagine most
mayors having to deal with.

Mayor Triplet is going to join me next. We`ll also going to be joined
by Charles Blow, Jonathan Capehart, Eugene O`Donnell will be with us, Farai
Chideya. We`re all going to be here to react to and analyst all of this
new evidence that`s emerging tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The mayor of Sanford, Florida, Jeff Triplett, cast one of
the votes of no confidence against Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, removing
him from office. Mayor Jeff Triplett joins us now.

Mayor Triplett, with the emergence of the police video showing George
Zimmerman just a little more than a half hour after he fired the fatal
shots in this case, the shots that changed life in your town, what is your
reaction to the release of this video and what you`re seeing in the video?

MAYOR JEFF TRIPLETT, SANFORD, FLORIDA: You know, it`s -- it`s
interesting to me. It causes more questions than it actually does answers,
as far as I`m concerned. You know, and this is the exact reason why -- why
we`ve gone out to the -- you know, to the Department of Justice and the
FDLE to review our practices and policies, and to take a look at how we`ve
handled this investigation since day one.

I`m not -- I`m not an attorney or a law enforcement officer. I`m the
mayor, so I`d hate to form an opinion as to exactly my thoughts and
opinions about that.

O`DONNELL: George Zimmerman`s father said something in an interview
last night, a local interview down there, which I`m sure you`ve seen, which
actually moved his comment into the political arena, which is your arena.
I want to play this for you. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, FATHER OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I don`t feel good, but
I guess he would have preferred my son being beaten to death. I never
foresaw so much hate coming from the president, the Congressional Black
Caucus, the NAACP. Every organization imaginable is trying to get
notoriety or profit from this in some way.

But there`s so much hate that I`ve never been involved in hate. And
George hasn`t. And it`s really unbelievable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What is your reaction to him saying I never saw so much
hate coming from the president?

TRIPLETT: Did he say the president? I`m sorry. I had a hard time
hearing it.

O`DONNELL: I`m going to read it to you because -- to make sure you
hear this, OK, "I never foresaw so much hate coming from the president."
He then went on to say "never saw so much hate coming from the president,
the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP. Every organization imaginable
is trying to gain notoriety or profit from this."

"I`ve never foresaw so much hate coming from the president." Did you
think that it would come to this?

TRIPLETT: No, I never thought that it would come to this. And in
fact, you know, that`s -- obviously everyone has a right to their own
opinion. But I got to be honest with you, you know, going through this
since I`ve gotten involved, I`ve had some great conversations with the --
with a lot of those leaders that he`s talking about.

O`DONNELL: Jeff -- Mayor Triplett, I just want to stop you. You
actually made a trip up to Washington to speak to the Justice Department.
You sought the interaction and help of the federal government in this.

Everyone`s entitled to an opinion. Some things simply are not true
and live beyond the realm of opinion. For a person to say, no matter how
they are related to this case, "I never foresaw so much hate coming from
the president," is that an opinion you think someone is entitled to in this
case?

TRIPLETT: No matter whether you like him or not, he`s still our
president and deserves the ultimate level of respect, as far as I`m
concerned.

O`DONNELL: Mayor Triplett, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I know how hard it is for you to get to our position, to deal
with these things for us. Thank you very much.

TRIPLETT: Thanks for having me, sir.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, George Zimmerman`s father says he spoke to a
television reporter against the advice of the police. The police are
giving him advice on how to handle himself. That`s going to be next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news developments tonight in the killing
of Trayvon Martin. A new witness has emerged who saw much of what took
place, a now valuable witness. We also have what seems to be developing as
the family story of why George Zimmerman pulled the trigger in his decision
to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin.

That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE OLIVER, "FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN": We know that if we weren`t
sitting here talking about George shooting Trayvon, we`d be talking about
Trayvon shooting George.

ZIMMERMAN: George was trying to get his head off the concrete, trying
to move with Trayvon on him into the grass. In doing so, his firearm was
shown. Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, you`re going to die
now or you`re going to die tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George was out of breath. He was barely
conscious. His last thing he remembers doing was moving his head from the
concrete to the grass, so that if he was banged one more time he wouldn`t
be, you know, wearing diapers for the rest of his life and being spoon fed
by his brother. And there would have been George dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now on the phone by a paramedic, a New York
paramedic, Brandon Smith. Broaden Smith, you`ve listened to this evidence
in this discussion about banging George Zimmerman`s head against the
pavement. What would you expect to find as a paramedic arriving on a scene
with that kind of injury?

BRANDON SMITH, NEW YORK CITY PARAMEDIC: With any sort of head trauma
like that, I mean, you`re going to see an altered level of consciousness.
You`re going to see possibly some vomiting. He might have altered
(INAUDIBLE). The person might not be aware of their surroundings.

O`DONNELL: Now if he was very blooded at the scene -- when you see
this video, if he was very bloodied with a broken nose, bloody nose, if he
had fired a shot where there could have been blood spattered on him, would
you have -- as a paramedic, have been able to clean him up so that he would
look absolutely flawless on this videotape?

SMITH: The first thing that we do is we control any sort of major
bleeding. And then if somebody has a suspected head injury, what we would
do is you would perform a spinal mobilization typically and bring the
person to the hospital, because it could be a closed head injury. It could
be a concussion. It could possibly result in inter-cranial pressure, which
leads to possibly death.

And I mean just watching the video, I was kind of amazed that this
individual didn`t go to the hospital for an evaluation.

O`DONNELL: Brandon Smith, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Charles Blow, Matt Lauer conducted a great interview today with George
Zimmerman`s lawyer, the guy who failed to show up here. And Matt asked all
the questions I wanted to ask and got some of the answers but mostly no
answers.

For example, Matt said to him, "Mr. Zimmerman has said he was treated
for a broken nose. Wouldn`t he have X-Rays that showed the nose is
broken." Wouldn`t he have his own records of what -- how he was treated.

And the lawyer says, "I`m not going to litigate this case in the
media." In other words, the lawyer is asked do you possess medical records
of this trip you people seem to be suggesting occurred the day after, to a
hospital or a doctor? Can you show us anything? The lawyer had nothing to
show.

CHARLES BLOW, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. Right. But see, here`s
the thing. Everybody is tired. Get this guy charged. Get this guy into a
courtroom, so that we can subpoena all the records. If you have a broken
nose, that broken nose will show up two years from now. All that sort of
thing, you`ll find out.

If they took pictures, if he has lacerations, we would know that. If
there is grass stains on -- which we don`t see, unless they have a giant
Tide stain stick in the back of that cruiser, to get rid of all that grass
stain, we should see it.

We need to see this in a courtroom. And I am still trying to figure
out what is the burden at which they will say, we have enough? We don`t
have to have conclusive evidence that none of it corrects our case. We
just have to have enough that supports our case to bring this before a
jury.

And I do not understand how we don`t have enough at this point. Are
we waiting for some sort of Lazarus moment, where we could go to the
graveyard and ask this boy to spring up out of the grave and come testify
in his own behalf? Because that`s not going to happen.

But we have enough evidence, just based on what we`ve seen so far --
we don`t even need to know whether or not he`s the only person screaming.
It is completely possible that more than one person screamed. Somebody can
scream to say, help me keep this kid down. Somebody can scream when the
guy pulls out a gun and says, you know, please don`t shoot me. And both
people could be hearing their loved one.

We don`t have to have that completely resolved. We just have to say,
there`s enough ambiguity here. There`s enough contradiction here that we
need to let a jury of his peers examine the evidence on the cross-
examination. That`s it.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to take a quick break here. Eugene, before we
go, what Charles is pointing out is that there`s a difference between what
is probable cause and what is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You as a
cop worked with trying to find probable cause. That was your job.

As a prosecutor, you were trying to find probable cause and evaluate
whether you had proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And it seems to be that
proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard that was being used so far
in this case to even get any process going.

We got to leave it there. We`re going to come right back with more on
the killing of Trayvon Martin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news developments tonight in the killing
of Trayvon Martin. We have full police video showing the various angles of
George Zimmerman getting out of the police car, arriving at the police
station last night. George Zimmerman`s brother gave an interview tonight
in which he made statements very similar to the interview his father gave
last night.

And we also have a new witness emerging tonight with some eyewitness
details and ear witness details of what happened. We`re joined now by
Farai Chideya. She`s an author, journalist and a fellow at Harvard
University`s Institute of Politics.

Farai, we need fresh eyes and ears on this case here. we -- the
effect of this case and the way it`s being both covered and perceived
throughout the country is something that`s hard to track, especially here
where we`re delivering this news to the country. What is your sense of the
way this is being followed and what people are focusing on?

FARAI CHIDEYA, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: Well, one of the things I do is
track social media and politics. And one of the first things I did after
this case really started to gather some steam was to -- if you go to
Farai.com, which is my personal website, you`ll see a Twitter map of
basically where Trayvon is trending. And it`s very notable that it`s
really trending coastally, not so much in the middle of the country.

I think that has to do with patterns of news coverage and also with
political leanings. And I`m really afraid that this case -- you`ve talked
about a lot of different testimony and a lot of it with, you know --
there`s a lot of uncertainty, to just to put it mildly, and a lot of
conflict.

I`m afraid that our country will get very divided. The politics have
come up. George Zimmerman`s father referenced the president. The
president is someone who, when he was elected, people made a run on assault
weapons, assuming that he would change gun laws.

So I think that the last person who could make a really strong
statement, in some ways, is the president. So I`m looking at it from
political angles, social media angles. And also this is -- this should be,
in the end, not just about justice for Trayvon and a question of
prosecution of Zimmerman. It should be about the gun laws that exist in 20
states that are putting people`s lives in danger.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, I hate making judgments about George
Zimmerman`s father. But -- you know, or his brother in a situation like
this. But there are things that happen in these cases and you watch people
come forward and you give their statements, and you have to make a judgment
about it. This line he spoke, "I never foresaw so much hate coming from
the president," it won`t surprise you that he`s a registered Republican?

There was an ease in the way he made that statement and the way it
flowed. I`m not suggesting that registered Republicans think that. But
what happens? What happens in our politics when someone in that situation
throws that bomb at the president?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, one, I don`t know.
And if you know, please tell me whether he just threw that out there
voluntarily or if that was in response --

O`DONNELL: Absolutely. He was asked how he feels.

CAPEHART: Well, then --

O`DONNELL: "How do you feel? How`s it going in the family?"

"I don`t feel good. I guess people would rather my son be beaten to
death. I never foresaw so much hate coming from the president, the
Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP. Every organization imaginable is
trying to gain notoriety and profit from this."

CAPEHART: Well, this -- well, that then --

O`DONNELL: "How do you feel?" That`s --

CAPEHART: That fits in with what seems to be this strategy on the
part of the Zimmermans --, let`s just put them all in there, the brother,
the father, George Zimmerman through the police, of deflecting. It`s not
about George. It`s about Trayvon. It`s not about George. It`s the
atmosphere of hate. It`s the president.

It`s look away from us, focus on these other things. I have to say,
and it`s quite frightening, that the level of sophistication coming from
the Zimmermans and how they`re pursuing their own PR strategy is really --
it`s really quite frightening.

In the face of now video evidence, in the face of interviews done on
this show and other shows that has people looking at the television,
reading the stories and thinking, this doesn`t make sense, how can these
people still say this? And I think maybe Charles, you made this point at
the beginning of the show. These folks are laying the groundwork for
whatever prosecution comes, if it comes down the road.

They`re making these very systematic statements, programmed
statements, a script even that down the road they think could help them.

EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYC POLICE OFFICER: Could I just say, it`s
important for law enforcement to stay out of the issue of partisan
politics. It`s important that nobody picks sides here. There`s no side to
pick here.

What needs to happen here is justice. Everybody is served by justice.
It`s not a zero sum game. Getting justice for the Martin family does not
come at the expense of getting justice for any other person in America. So
law enforcement has to stay focused and understand that it`s about justice.

O`DONNELL: It`s important to note, no professional in this case tried
to drag the president into this case. A father who`s in all sorts of
trouble and emotional trouble did that. Farai Chideya, I`m very sorry we
didn`t have more time for you. We got to wrap it up here. Charles Blow,
Jonathan Capehart, Eugene O`Donnell, thank you all very much for joining me
tonight.

We`re going to continue this conversation of the case after this show
with the panel. We`re going to keep them here to talk about. We will post
that segment on our blog, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com, later tonight.

"THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END


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