Thomas Roberts   |  July 16, 2013

Zimmerman juror says race wasn’t an issue

One of the six jurors responsible for deciding George Zimmerman’s fate has come forward with details about their decision. She believed race was not an issue and that it wasn’t even discussed during deliberations. Martin family attorney Natalie Jackson joins MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts to discuss. Later NAACP President Ben Jealous, and National Urban League President Marc Morial will give their take on the role of race in the case.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i'm thomas roberts .

>>> a fascinating new look into how the jury in the george zimmerman trial reacted and their not guilty verdict . how did they come to it? it comes from one of the six women. a juror who concealed her identity and saying the jury was first split and three thought sfli zimmerman . the juror said she did not believe race played a role in the shooting and it never came up in the jury room.

>> i don't think it did. i think if there was another person, spanish, white, asian, if they came in the same situation where trayvon was, i think george would have reacted the exact same way.

>> george zimmerman 's parents, his mom being hispanic, his father is white, they are defending their son telling barbara walters he is not a race i-

>> he has never been taught to be a race i-

>> we are not racist. we don't see color. we are colorblind.

>> we are also now hearing from rachel jeantel a key state witness who was the last to speak to trayvon martin . she had her friend was not a thug and insisted that race did play a part .

>> it was racial. let's be honest. racial. if he was -- trayvon was white, he had a hoodie on, would it have happened? that was around 7:00 or something. that's around that people walk their dogs and people stay outside.

>>> refed reverend al sharpton leading a conference outside the department of justice just a short time ago.

>> trayvon martin had the civil right to go home and that was interfered with and violated.

>>> the overnight protest that turned violent stomping on cars and breaking windows and setting fires and attacking people on the streets. we want to point out and stress here, though. the protests the last few days have mostly been peaceful. los angeles authorities are calling now for calm.

>> the martin family was very clear that those who sympathize with their plight, the best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a nonviolent manner.

>>> i'd like to bring in right now martin family attorney natalie jackson. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> toii want to play more of that compelling interview with the juror who was asked if she thought zimmerman was guilty of something.

>> i think he is guilty of not using good judgment. i think george got in deep that he shouldn't have been there but trayvon decided he wasn't going to let him scare him and get the one over, up on him, or something, and i think trayvon got mad and attacked him.

>> this juror went on to say that either one could have walked away and that she felt that george zimmerman 's voice was clearly heard on that tape. obviously, miss jackson , it looks like she sympathized with the plight of george zimmerman and believed the evidence supported exactly what his story was. your reaction.

>> my reaction personally to that there was so many people was wondering if this jury would see trayvon and sympathize for trayvon because they were mothers and see trayvon as their son. i think this jury cleared up the answer at least as to her that she did not see trayvon as her son and that is so troubling for many people and disheartening to so many people in race relations relations.

>> take a listen.

>> i didn't think it was very credible. i feel sorry for her. she didn't want to be in this place. she asked to go and she didn't want to be a part of this jury. i think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skill -- skills. i just felt sadness for her.

>> felt sadness for her. miss jackson as we know now the racial makeup of this jury there were no african-americans on the jury. it came down to the five white women and one hispanic woman. is not believing the racial relate of someone like 17-year-old trayvon martin able to empathize walking in his shoes the biggest hang-up now?

>> i don't want to paint all of the jurors with a broad brush because we haven't heard from them but we have heard from this juror. she has said she thought racial was not credible. there are five inconsistent stories that george zimmerman told the police that was put into evidence and she chose to believe george zimmerman the killer of a kid who was walking home from the store.

>> we have heard from george zimmerman 's parents and they are speaking out saying he is not a racist and that they are now in hiding because of what their family has endured the last year and a half and that they are praying for trayvon martin . take a listen.

>> we are deeply sorry for this. deep sorry. we pray for trayvon martin to be in a better place .

>> certainly those parents seem thoughtful. they seem authentic as they are sitting down in that interview there. have you had a chance to speak with sybrina fulton and tracy martin how the zimmerman parents are reacting and if those words bring any consolation to them?

>> i haven't spoken to them about this. there are two families in this whole event and i don't think that any family should be threatened. i don't think any family should have to be in fear, because sybrina and tracy, they have had to move. they couldn't even stay in the jury room because they have been getting threats. we had to worry about their security. so we don't approve of it on either side.

>> when we look at this, many experts are saying a federal case is unlikely. do you see a way forward , given that the bar is so high when we talk about any type of federal charges and has the family decided on any type of civil suit moving forward?

>> the family has decided they will not let this verdict define their son so they will pursue any option that they have available to make sure that their son is defined by them and not this verdict. as far as what has happened, i think there's something very heartening that has happened. we have seen multiracial peaceful demonstrations in cities across the nation and i will submit you will see more. whether or not anything ever comes out of a justice department investigation, what you will see is that the people who have taken to the streets and who have said that this is not a just and fair verdict, they will become the jurors, they will become the prosecutors. they will become the police. i think that we have a brighter future to look forward to.

>> martin family attorney natalie jackson. thank you for your time.

>> thank you.

>> i want to bring benefit jealojel -- ben jealous the president of naacp . he joins from the naacp convention in orlando and joining our conversation is marc morial of the urban league . ben , i want to start out of the ghert with your reaction when you heard the juror speak about her reasons for finding george zimmerman not guilty. did you find the fact that with what she was saying was supported by the way that the defense presented their case?

>> you know, i think what you hear there is sort of cause for concern, that perhaps these jurors, for some reason, had a hard time really putting themselves in trayvon's shoes and his family's shoes. i don't think it's really helpful at this point to really, you know, dig into the jury too much or into the -- do the postgame quarterbacking. what is important now is that folks focus on what we can do going forward and going forward, yes, his family has more options in the courts of this state from a civil perspective and, most importantly, the usdoj can actually bring criminal charges here too and that is what we are calling on them to do. we have almost 1 million signatures from people across this country calling on the u.s. department of justice to bring criminal charges , criminal civil rights charges and they need to do that. some people say it's a high bar . it's a bar that can be met.

>> marc, as ben doesn't want to dissect the jury on this, we are still finding more information that is of interest to people as we come to their conclusions about being not guilty. this jury once owned a concealed weapon and her husband is a gun owner and also an attorney. she says she has no problem with george zimmerman getting his gun back. when we look at where we are in this country about gun culture , how much of that does it play a role in this case?

>> well, i want to say, thomas , that i'd like to hear from the other jurors to see whether there was a pattern to their deliberations and a pattern to what they concluded. i think ben is right. too much postmortem is not where we should focus today. i think the focus should be on the actions of the department of justice , encouraging people to express themselves in a peaceful discipline matter leading up to the civil rights continuation march on august 24th , as well as standing with the family of trayvon martin as they make a decision on how they are going to make sure that trayvon martin did not die in vain. the final thing i would say, it is encouraging to see multiracial peaceful demonstrations all across the country and we want to encourage people to continue to participate in expressing their outrage at the decision but the quest for just for trayvon martin .

>> gentlemen, we have gotten a lot of reaction to what ben just brought up about the fact that the department of justice might bring charges, potentially robert zimmerman who is george zimmerman 's brother, he commented a short time ago directly about the naacp and others that have wanted the department of justice to move forward with charges. this is what he had to say.

>> first, they want just a simple arrest and that is it and have his fair day in court. whatever the verdict is, we will respect it. then when the verdict was coming, they wanted -- they wanted him to be found guilty. but the verdict isn't what they wanted so now they are moving the goalposts again and calling on the department of justice to investigate him more.

>> ben , does mr. zimmerman have a point there that you're moving the goalposts.

>> not really.

>> it was originally about having an arrest and seeing mr. zimmerman tried in a court of law and found the outcome by a jury of his peers.

>> look. this has always been about encouraging people to put the faith in this justice system and have justice run its course. yes, that had to start with charges being brought against him. but from the very beginning we have been talking to d.o.j. they suspended the investigation while the try went on and they have now resumed it. he can't arbitrarily say let's stop this at the comma. you have to go to the period and deal with the full sentence when you've killed a kid. the reality is we are only halfway through that sentence. we have gone through one stage in the state court so another stage, the civil stage. we are a nation that believes we should be one nation. there is a federal option as well. and so he just has to deal with the fact that his brother went out there and intentionally brought a gun with no safety and tracked a kid in the streets. chose to confront that kid when the cops told him to stay in the car and the kid is debt now. he needs to man up and understand that the reality is his brother put himself in a very difficult situation and now justice has to run its full course. you can't stop at the comma. we are going to the period.

>> ben , in trying to, you know, talk about this from the state of florida legally, they are saying that zimmerman was in the right and that they were not able to find him in the wrong. this jury wasn't able to find him in the wrong because of the way the laws --

>> that's what the jury found.

>> the outcome that you and other activists -- ben in trying to get the outcome you want to see in this case are you setting the focus too narrow or should there be a more comprehensive approach because problems within the legal system especially when it comes to florida.

>> thomas , let's be clear here. we have pushed from the very beginning to make sure that we get justice for trayvon martin and his family and that we also make sure there are no more tray von's. because of our work, sanford has has new chief. because of this movement, new york city now is tough anti- racial profiling laws. because of what these millions of people are doing our country is having a conversation they should be having and we are getting safe area money united as a country because of it. the reality is what we have always called for is for our country to put faith and justice running its course and the reality is that we have only gone through the first stage. we have always known there would be a civil stage and people should have always known from our first calls on the u.s. department of justice there would always be a role for the federal government and we are asking for both the media and the public to understand that when somebody kills a kid of any color, our country needs for justice to run its course and we are only halfway through the sentence. we have got to go to the very end.

>> you do make a very valid point about the federal government was involved and then they halted the continuing of their investigation to see the criminal process go through in florida with the intention of picking it up on the other side.

>> this is the other point that is important, thomas , about that, and that is this is not unprecedent unprecedented. it's customary that the federal government waits until state court proceedings conclude to determine whether or not they are going to bring civil rights or hate crime charges against this person. what the public should understand is that in the rodney king incident, this took place, and the police officers there having been acquitted in state court were convicted in federal court . there is nothing unusual about how this is going to proceed and how this should proceed. and the martin family has other legal options, but very importantly, this is spurring what i would call a new civil rights movement when you take this along with the tragic decision of supreme court and the voting rights act case, i think it's a wake-up call to people across the nation of some very significant issues that have to be confronted. so this is the beginning, not the end.

>> gentlemen, thank you so much. naacp president ben jealous and national urban league president marc