updated 7/14/2013 2:46:29 PM ET 2013-07-14T18:46:29

Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder shares his thoughts on the George Zimmerman verdict with Steve Kornacki.

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of second0degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin, and on Saturday’s Up, former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, a Democrat and the first African-American ever elected to a governor’s office, spoke with Steve Kornacki about the verdict and offered some context based on his own experience.

Wilder said of the tragedy and the outcome. “It’s not just a shame on what’s happened in Florida,” he said. “America can’t stand this kind of justice. People around the world will look at us and say, ‘What were you talking about when you tell us how to behave?’”

As someone who was deeply involved with the civil rights movement, Wilder responded to Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump’s comparison of Martin to movement-era casualties Medgar Evers and Emmett Till, Wilder said, “How many Emmett Tills, how many Medgar Evers, how many Trayvon Martins must be sacrificed before the wheels of justice, which grind so slowly, grind to the extent of meting out justice for all, impartial?”

Watch the whole clip above.

Video: Gov. Wilder: ‘If stand your ground isn’t involved, how do you come to this verdict?’

  1. Closed captioning of: Gov. Wilder: ‘If stand your ground isn’t involved, how do you come to this verdict?’

    >>> league, member of virginia state house of delegates and chairwoman of democratic state party and former virginia governor doug wilder , first african-american ever elected to a governor's office. ran for president in 1992 and elected mayor of richmond in 2004 . governor, i want to start with you. although a basic level, i'm curious what your reaction is to the verdict last night and what you've seen in the aftermath of that verdict.

    >> well, i was surprised by the verdict, first off, and somewhat disappointed, and yet i've been listening to the questions and answers that have been coming forth relative to your prepounding them. some of them surprised me. start off with this, you had an all-white courtroom, for all practical purposes, other than the defendant's presence and some of the witnesses -- i'm sorry, the victim and some of the witnesses. an all-white jury. all of the prosecutors were white. the defense people were white. if race didn't play a part in it, then you ask this very simple question, if the florida stand your ground law is not a part of what people considered, then why could you come to this verdict? the other thing that i would say is to follow some bit of what you've suggested, you've got a young man who has done nothing wrong criminally. he's been killed. no one debates that. so what caused his death? so the action that involved him being killed was the action of the defendant. to the extent he goes unpunished for someone who's done nothing doesn't make any sense. if the law has to be changed in florida, you should change it. or if this could happen again under the same set of circumstances, that's not what we have fought for in terms of bringing justice to all, making certain that three preceps. america can't stand this kind of justice and people around the world would look at us and say, what are you talking about when you tell us how to bhaf. i'm shocked with it. i'm disappointed in it. i don't know all of the facts. i was not there. i don't know whether the prosecutors presented the case as best they could. i do think pretty clearly that race did play a part .

    >> i want to ask you because you came -- came of age, i guess, during and before the civil rights movement . there was a point in the press conference after the verdict where benjamin crump, lawyer for trayvon martin's family, likened -- he said trayvon martin will go down in history. remembered with medgar evers and emmett till . i wonder what you make of that comparison.

    >> that's probably true but it doesn't bring him back. it doesn't bring his life back. how many emmett tills and medgar evers and trayvon martins must be sacrificed before the wheels of justice, which grind so slowly, grind for meting out justice for all. i would have been very concerned when that jury was set to see six white people . i would have been very, very concerned. i don't know how or why the prosecutor would allow that to take place without some degree of closed session to say, hey, wait a minute, let's go talk to the judge. you know where the strikes came from. from the defense. you can't tell me there were not people of color , black people , that the jury would have been selected from. somebody had to strike certain people. it would be interesting to see if the people stricken were black. if they were not included, why not?

    >> we're short on time, but i wonder as a lawyer if you can answer that quickly. do you look -- could the prosecution have done better?

    >> the problem is sanford is 80% white, so the jury pool is representative of that.


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