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PoliticsNation, Friday, March 23, 2012

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry; Joy-Ann Reid, R.B. Holmes; Eugene O`Donnell; Oscar Braynon, Steve Cohen, Zachary Carter, Chris Tutko

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, 27 days since the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin
and still the man responsible has not been arrested. He is still walking
free, still with his gun, still with his gun permit. Each day he remains
free is an outrage. Today, President Obama spoke about the incident in
very personal terms.


to do soul searching to figure out how something like this happens. But my
main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he would
look like Trayvon. And, you know, I think they are right to expect that
all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it
deserves and we`ll get to the bottom of exactly what happened. Thank you.


SHARPTON: The fight for justice is spreading by the hour. Students
at 15 different schools in Miami walked out of class protested today.
Students spelled out Trayvon Martin`s on the football field. Police say
they did not arrest Zimmerman because he claimed self-defense under the
"Stand Your Ground" law. That law in at front. But even under the
standards of that law, Zimmerman should be arrested.

The "Orlando Sentinel" reported, quote, "police agencies routinely
make arrests for murder in `Stand Your Ground` cases and then let courts
decide if a killing is justified. Court records show police and
prosecutors now file charges more often than not."

That`s what happened to Chad Smith in 2011. He was arrested for
battery despite pleading self-defense under the state "Stand Your Ground
Law." He was ultimately convicted. Is that what happened to Gracton
Garcia, arrested on a double murder charge.

Earlier this year, despite a "Stand Your Ground" defense, the judge
ultimately dismissed the case but not before that arrest. Not before the
justice system had its say.

As we march, as we rally, as we say no rest until an arrest of
Zimmerman, we`re only asking that they operate the way I`ve shown you they
already have. No favors, not asking for something unusual, asking for them
not to do something unusual. And that is, not make arrest until there has
been a full investigation by a grand jury. That is not the pattern as I
just showed you.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris Perry, host of MSNBC`s "Melissa
Harris-Perry" and Florida state senator Oscar Braynon who represents a
district where Trayvon`s mother, Sybrina lives.

Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

OSCAR BRAYNON (D), FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: Thank you for having me,

SHARPTON: Senator, you were calling for a special prosecutor in the
case, and you`re dealing for hearings into the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Senator, why has this man not been arrested?

BRAYNON: You know that is exactly why I called for the hearing.
Because, you know, when he said he used "Stand Your Ground", I was under
the assumption that when you use "Stand Your Ground" you get arrested and
then, you know, a trial figures out that you had -- a jury figures out that
you were in self defense.

But as we did research into it, we found that there are limited cases
where there is a non-rebuttable presumption where they just -- if the
police investigated and if they think that you were under self-defense they
let you go. And I said, no. That needs to go. That needs to change.

And since we`re a part-time legislature, then if we need to go into
special committee or have a select committee look at that law and change
that. And as Trayvon`s state senator, I mean, my job is to make sure the
laws protect him and the laws failed him right there. And the laws have
not provided the justice that he needs. I thought it was necessary for me
to step up and do that.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, senator. Let me ask you, Professor
Perry. Jeb Bush, former governor - I mean, he was governor 2005 when this
law was enacted. He defended it back then. Let me show you his defense
back then when the debate was raised.


JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: It`s common sense to allow people
to defend themselves and to have to, when you`re in a position where you`re
being threatened, there is a life threatening situation, to have to retreat
and put yourself in a very precarious position, you know, it defies common


SHARPTON: Now, when you hear Jeb Bush`s defense in 2005, and you now
can understand the confusion the senator had and others, because this was
painted -- people should have the right to defend themselves if you`re
threatened, if you`re put in a precarious position.

Professor Perry, clearly from what Mr. Zimmerman himself said on the
911 tapes, none of that was the case here, and the tapes are in the
possession of the police. So if the police knew from his own 911 tapes for
dead once it happens. He was not under threat. He was not in any way --


SHARPTON: Yes, then how do they not make an arrest?

HARRIS-PERRY: Look. I think there simply two different pieces here.
One is a question of whether or not this law is a reasonable law, and
whether or not a legislature and community can expect that this sort of law
will lead to this sort of actions. So, let`s lake and bracket one second,
because I think that`s important debate.

But I think in this case, with Trayvon Martin case, the issue is even
if this law were operating exactly as written, even if we decided it was
fair and just reasonably law, Mr. Zimmerman was not behaving in a way
consistent with that law. He indicated clearly on those 911 tapes any
reasonable person could hear those tapes and hear that he saw someone. He
identified them based on his own decision that that person looked
suspicious based on his own criteria. Not on any legal criteria that this
person look suspicious. And then he pursued that individual despite being
told by the 911 operator not to pursued, that 911 did not need him not to
do it. And in fact, later I heard some other comment here to say well,
Trayvon was running toward him, but it`s completely clear that Zimmerman
says he`s moving to the other entrance, right, and he issue was, he didn`t
want Trayvon to get away.

SHARPTON: He was playing cop, and he was clearly not defending
himself threaten, never expressed that at all. Let me play the tape for
you Senator and Professor Perry. Let`s play exactly what Mr. Zimmerman


(bleep) holes, they always get away.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don`t need you to do that.

SHARPTON: Are you following him? Yes. Now, he started by saying
they always get away, senator. Then he says, he was asked if you followed
him, yes. We don`t need you to do that, OK. After agreeing not to do it,
whether it was a legal command or not, it doesn`t matter. He gives his
frame of mind. He said something he agreed to and then didn`t do it.

Where in that do you spell he was in danger or threatened and had to
defend himself. He was against his own agreement pursuing somebody.

BRAYNON: And I think if the police did an investigation on the scene,
why would they not have been able to figure that out? Did he tell them the
911 tapes? Did he tell them a lie? Do we know these things yet?

You know, I think that that`s the part of the biggest part of the
injustice of this. Is that the police - and that`s why people are asking
for the chief to step down is because they`re saying the police did an
investigation and came up with that we should let him go. If they did an
investigation, it seems like to a blind person. You should have took, this
man in.

SHARPTON: Well, the fact is Professor Perry, maybe they didn`t have
the 911 tapes at the scene, but they certainly had them within a day, and
you could within the next day and arrested him. I mean, only at least 27
days later. The national media has the tapes now.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. And remember, part of what goes there
has to do with the presumption of what`s happening. Police officers use
discernment judgment discretion, all the time when they encounter a
domestic violence situation, when they encounter street level violence.
That`s part of what police officers are trained to do.

So, if you have police officers under the judgment and the leadership
of a police chief who is apparently trained them that when they find an
unarmed teenage dead in a gated community, not only did they let Zimmerman
walk, he walked with the murder weapon, I mean - or the killing weapon,
because we don`t know if it was murder.

But this is a man who is not disarmed. This is a man whose permit has
not been revoked. This is a man, who, when the police officers saw what
happened, that there was an armed man and unarmed child, they said well,
this looks like a circumstance in which we should let this person go.


SHARPTON: He not only has he had his gun taken on permit, he had the
police chief become his spokesman. He actually said that the witnesses are
contradicting themselves, and Mr. Zimmerman told us self-defense. I mean,
what are we talking about?

Let me ask you, senator, you called for a special prosecutor. Last
night while we`re right before the rally, the governor came down and he
appointed a special prosecutor. Does that mean that`s a progress? Is that
a step forward? What is your view?

BRAYNON: In my opinion that`s a step in the right direction. The
reason we called for that was because of what we perceived as the culture
down there in Sanford of a police department that was allowed to do
something like this. And I think even the prosecutor there said that he
felt a little uncomfortable because he had a relationship with the police

So, we thought a special prosecutor from outside of that jurisdiction
would be the best way for us to really receive that type of justice that
would be outside of that culture that exists right now in Sanford.

SHARPTON: I think you`re right. I think it is a step in the right
direction, but until we see this man arrested, I`m not going to stop.

Today, I just want to throw this at you, Dennis Baxley, the Republican
state representative who sponsored this bill "Stand Your Ground" bill
Professor Perry, said quote, "as a 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." The sponsor is saying
it doesn`t fit what I`m seeing.

HARRIS-PERRY: Look. I`m going to tell that I live in New Orleans.
There`s there one story leading our news and it is about the bounty cases
and there have been more people held accountable in the NFL bounty scandal
than there have been anyone held accountable in the scandal of the death of
this child.

SHARPTON: That says a lot. Melissa Harris-Perry and Florida state
senator, Oscar Braynon, thank you for your time both of you tonight.

And tune in for Melissa`s show, "Melissa Harris-Perry" weekends, from

Ahead, we go in the crime scene where Mr. Zimmerman was when he was
making those 911 calls. And a neighborhood watch program is supposed to
protect people from crime. So, how did they get this one so wrong?

And protested rallies are breaking out all over the country. Why is
this tragedy, are sparking such a national movement?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: What really happened that rainy night 27 days ago? Our
team goes inside the crime scene where George Zimmerman followed and shot
Trayvon Martin. What we found out, that`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

The Sanford police chief has temporarily stepped down, but there are
many questions about how his department handled the case. Those questions
all start back on that rainy February night when self-appointed
neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman called 911.

Today, TheGrio, Joy-Ann Reid retraced the steps that Zimmerman and
Trayvon Martin took that night to see how this could have happened.


JOY-ANN REID, THEGRIO: This is the clubhouse where Trayvon Martin
stopped to get out of the rain on the night of February 26th. It`s also
here that George Zimmerman said he first spotted someone suspicious.

ZIMMERMAN: We have had break ins in my neighborhood, and there is a
real suspicious guy. It`s Retreat View Circle. The best address I can
give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he is up to no
good or he is on drugs or something. That`s the clubhouse.

911 DISPATCHER: That`s the clubhouse. Do you know what the -- he is
near the clubhouse right now?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes. Now he is coming towards me. He`s got his hand in
his waistband.
And he is a black male, something is wrong with him. Yes, he is coming to
check me out. He has something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal
is. These (bleep), they always get away.

REID: It would be at this point, that George Zimmerman would have got
out of his SUV. As you can see, if you look this way, there is nowhere
else you can go in a vehicle. At this point, George Zimmerman would have
had to pursue Trayvon Martin on foot.


ZIMMERMAN: He is running.

911 DISPATCHER: He`s running. Which way is he running?

ZIMMERMAN: Down towards the other entrance of the neighborhood?

911 DISPATCHER: OK. What entrance is that that he`s running towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. (bleep).

911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

TRAYVON MARTIN`S GIRLFRIEND: Trayvon said what are you following me
for? Then the man said what are you doing around here? Next thing I hear
like a push. It`s as though somebody pushed Trayvon because he headset
just fell.

REID: Trayvon Martin would have come from this direction running away
from a pursuing George Zimmerman. He would have come around this swale to
perhaps try to elude him and walk down this lane. If you walk down here,
you see the place where Trayvon ultimately fell. His confrontation with
George Zimmerman took place in front of this house.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you need police, fire, or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CALLER: Maybe both, I`m not sure. There`s just
someone screaming outside.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: If someone is here as I did
and your window is open right there, you can clearly hear the argument.
One of these windows, I don`t know which side, that they did actually hear
the cries for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CALLER: I don`t know what`s going on, so.

911 DISPATCHER: Do you think he`s yelling for help?


911 DISPATCHER: All right. What is your --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CALLER: Someone screamed, just heard gunshots.

MARTIN: He ended up dying right up the sidewalk here.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Reverend R.B. Holmes Jr. He has been
asked to be vice chair of a special task force to review Florida`s "Stand
Your Ground" law, and Eugene O`Donnell, professor at John Jay College of
Criminal Justice. He is a former New York City police officer and

Thank you both for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Let me start with you Eugene, what dose those 911 tapes say
to you about George Zimmerman?

O`DONNELL: Well, I think you are starting to see a picture that is
pretty clearly indicating this is somebody who not your average
neighborhood watch person. That he took it upon himself to get in to a
vehicle, to survey the neighborhood, to pursue somebody.

What we are seeing in the video is that terrifying last minutes of the
life of this child. And so, we`re seeing a very bad picture which strongly
suggests that ultimately when this finally gets resolved, where a month
later, that there was no credible claim of self-defense.

SHARPTON: Now reverend, you have asked to co-chair a review of the
law, but many argue that the law would not cover Zimmerman anyway.

Again, let me play this 911 tape, because there`s nowhere in this 911
tapes does Zimmerman even remotely act like he is being threatened or has
to defend himself. In fact, he said the guy is running and he was running
behind. Listen to this.


ZIMMERMAN: These a(bleep)holes, they always get away.

911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don`t need you to do that.



SHARPTON: So he is following him, you can hear him huffing yes, he`s
told we don`t to do that, he says OK, and he follows him anyway. So even
despite whatever in the panel, you have become co-chair of or have become
co-chair of, whatever your finding is on the "Stand Your Ground" law,
clearly there is no "Stand Your Ground" premise in this tape.

reverend. He is outside the law. Zimmerman is clearly the aggressor and a
pursuer. If anybody should have stood their ground, it should have been
the young teenager. And he is on the ground which is very unfortunate. We
don`t have to take a real serious look at this law. We need to revisit it,
and hopefully once we have heard from the total community across the state
of Florida, this law as a great chance of being repealed.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, you were a former New York city
detective and prosecutor, how do you hear this tape?

O`DONNELL: When you take all of the tapes in the totality of what
they say, they clearly have in state of mind that his state of mind that he
is looking around the neighborhood, look for somebody suspicious. He finds
somebody suspicious. This is - in his minds as we know from historically
he has found a lot of suspicious activity in the neighborhood. He is more
than an average neighborhood watcher because he is armed, as neighborhood
watcher, operating in a state that has this bizarre law.

So, he may have had sense that he had more latitude than he should
have. So, obviously, this law, that police and prosecutors in the state of
Florida, said this was going to happen. Chief Timothy in Miami said a
trick or treater could get shot when this law was an acted. This was an
open invitation where you take the concealed carry law and the community
watch, and this law, you set a dangerous -- you create a dangerous

SHARPTON: Reverend Holmes, the "Orlando Sentinel" reports police
routinely make arrests on "Stand Your Ground" cases. Does this disturb
you, not only just one of the review committee but a one that pastors
citizens of Florida that for some reason, they acted out of the norm in
this case?

HOLMES: Yes, the law is very disturbing, reverend. And I think that
through your leadership and my members, Ben Crump and others, I think that
the whole country, the whole world, understands that this is a classic case
of racial profiling at its worst.

SHARPTON: Yes, and you great members by the way. That`s the lawyer
for the family.

Let me say -- ask you this. And put on your prosecutor hat. Full
screen will show you, the police report says this. It`s just not the
chief, at is one of the policeman. "At no point did I question Zimmerman
about the incident that had taken place."

Now, this is the policeman on the scene. This is what he said in his
report. Isn`t that incredibly out of the normal? This is the guy on the
scene responding to a call, there is a dead young boy on the ground. He
didn`t ask any questions?

O`DONNELL: It`s inexplicable. Because, obviously, not only you want
to ask questions, you want to hear what he is saying very carefully. You
want to listen to this guy. Because even if he is not responsive, it`s
highly unlikely he would say nothing at all. So it`s crucial on those
seconds after this happens, the police pin, for story - whatever the story
is, it`s likely to be helpful if it is not a justifiable shooting.

SHARPTON: But then, before you get through with that being credible,
when you get an answer sheet that was given by the chief Bill Lee. He says
this. "When the Sanford police department arrived at the scene of the
incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self
defense. So the officer on the scene said never talked to him or
questioned him, yet the police chief says he gave a statement. I mean a
complete blatant contradiction.

O`DONNELL: As of today, nobody has come forward, and if the chief or
anybody else in that department has position of any statement that
indicates this credible view of the evidence that he justified, it would do
us all a big favor if they came forward and told us what he said. As of
this moment, I don`t think any sees any reasonable person sees any credible
view of the evidence to suggest that he was not the aggressor, that he was
not justified, and that an arrest based on probably cause, should have been
made then and there.

SHARPTON: So, would you say from your view as a former prosecutor and
detective, there is a problem in that police department in Sanford?

O`DONNELL: There are more problems than you can count, and I would
say it goes beyond because you also have the county state`s attorney which
apparently had played no role in this. And if the police department were
so befuddled and paralyzed by a relatively straightforward case, where was
the seminal state`s attorney to come in as it happens all over the country
and say here is the law.

Obviously, there is a giant misperception of the law if a case like
this where - I don`t think there`s anybody can argue a credible view that
there`s justification. This is essentially somebody being pursued and
shot. What clarity do you need in a case like this?

SHARPTON: Reverend Holmes let me go to you to end this. The op-ed
today by none other than state representative Dennis Baxley who sponsored
this "Stand Your Ground" law and you are part of the review. He says it
doesn`t apply to the case.

Let me give you a quote so you can respond to it. Baxley, the author
of "Stand Your Ground" law said, quote, "Mr. Zimmerman`s unnecessary
pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a
violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined
by the castle doctrine".

He wrote the law, reverend.

HOLMES: I agree strongly with the statement of representative.
Zimmerman does not have a moral nor legal ground to stand on. And I think
that once all of the evidence has been pieced together, he will be and
should be arrested.

SHARPTON: Reverend R.B. Holmes, I want you - please to come back and
keep us posted, and certainly Eugene O`Donnell.

Thanks for your time tonight, both of you. Have a great weekend.

HOLMES: God bless you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Bless you.

Ahead from coast to coast, Americans are rallying for justice and
rallies are breaking out all over the country. We`ll tell you why the
movement will not stop.


SHARPTON: In the words of Trayvon`s mother, this fight for justice
isn`t about a black or white thing. It`s about a right or wrong thing.
And the country is responding in a major way. Today, hundreds of Capitol
Hill staffers gathered on the steps for the capitol for a hoodies on the
hill rally in supportive for Trayvon. They wore their hooded sweatshirts
in the heat, and came with skittles candy and iced tea. In Miami, hundreds
of students from 15 schools staged a group walk out calling for the
shooter`s arrest, and one school, students marched onto the football field
and formed the initials TM for Trayvon Martin. And last night in overflow
crowd for 30,000 rallied with us in Sanford. It was a great turnout. Now
rallies are spreading all over the country, people are rallying in cities
like Boston, New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

The demonstrations are planned in more than 20 major cities this
weekend and next week. Clear signs just how far this outrage has spread.
Social media is also become a platform for people calling for justice. The
petition at has its 1.5 million signatures. The fastest growing
petition since the site started five years ago. The Facebook page honoring
Trayvon has more than 80,000 likes. Monday night, we`ll be back in Sanford
with Trayvon`s parents meeting with city leaders. This is now turning into
a movement. We will keep rallying and keep fighting until George Zimmerman
is arrested and we get justice for Trayvon.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Yes. I think every parent in
America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that
we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together, the
federal state and local to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.


SHARPTON: From the White House to houses all across America, people
are demanding justice for Trayvon. Right now Justice Department lawyers
are on the ground in Sanford Florida investigating potential civil rights
violations in Trayvon`s death. They`re trying to figure out if the killing
was a hate crime. The Trayvon shooting is just the latest in the series of
racially charged cases incidents in Sanford. In 2010, the son of an
officer beat -- was charged with beating homeless black men. But only
after video of the incident emerged and brought intense scrutiny. And in
2006, two whites security guards, one the son of a police officer again
shot and killed a black teen only to have charges against them dismissed.
This history has poisoned the public trust against the Sanford police as
the city manager admitted today.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is really a case about racist thugs that made
a sport of targeting vulnerable African-Americans in Jackson. And
attacking them without provocation simply because of the color of their
skin. The defendants..


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Steve Cohen, democrat from
Tennessee. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, a lawyer and
former legal advisor to the Memphis Police Department. He is also one of
14 lawmakers who signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
encouraging a review of whether this shooting qualifies as a federal hate
crime. Also with me, Zachary Carter, the former U.S. attorney for the
Eastern district of New York who I personally have consulted from time to
time. Thanks to a both of you for joining me tonight, Congressman Cohen,
let me start with you. Do you think the Justice Department will have
grounds to bring federal hate crime charges in this case?

REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: From everything I have seen, the
grounds are definitely there, and the law is -- exactly the purpose of the
law. When the local jurisdiction appears at first not to take action as
they should, that when there`s a hate crime indices that federal -- they
come in and see too that the justice is done and that`s what happened in
this case. There`s no question this man had an obsession with young black
men and had an obsession with trying to play like he was a policeman
himself. Young Trayvon Martin did nothing. Nothing. And he is dead. And
I think it`s an indices of other incidents that have happened around this

We have seen them in Memphis, Tennessee. Mickey Wrigh an African-
American code inspector was killed and only got a man`s law, a second
degree murder guilty plea in state court. We took it at the FBI, we looked
at it, they found out that this man had done something similar and killed
an African-American 10 or 15 years earlier. Got him a life sentence. It
was a white man, killing a black man, chopping his body up and burying him
across state lines in Mississippi. We`ve had situations where the police,
rather for county Tennessee said that a young black man, his last name was
Reid (ph) from Memphis, speeding charge, traffic charge. They stopped him,
they medicated him, they put a hood over him, they restrained him, they
claimed he died of a heart attack. Everything says, it`s not that way.
I`m afraid there is a desperate system for justice for African-American
males in this country and it needs to stop...

SHARPTON: Well, there`s no doubt. There`s no doubt about that. Let
me ask you though, let me get specific on this case, Mr. Carter.

And you had talked about hate crime in a narrow boundaries of it, but
this case may really hinge on whether or not he used racial language. And
before pursuing Trayvon, he said something that has been raised as
questionable as a very serious racial epithet. Let me play this. And tell
me, if you were back as prosecutor, would you use this, and if so, how, if
you had him in a courtroom on trial? Let me play this.


other entrance of the neighborhood.

DISPATCHER: Which entrance is that that he is heading towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. (Bleep).


SHARPTON: Now, mostly what he says but you hear some tones that
people feel that he is saying a racial slur. And a profane word and a
racial slur. We beeped it out here, but I think you`ve heard the tape
where people think he used a racial slur that rhymes with boon. And I know
the Justice Department is going to have to look at this and elevate the
sound. If you`re in a courtroom and you`re in front of the jury, and you
know the cases can be at least dealt a serious advantage if in fact he did
use the term, how do you use this, Mr. Carter?

ZACHARY CARTER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: First of all, you have to get
the original copy of the tape. You have to use whatever techniques are
available to enhance that tape so that the jury gets an opportunity to hear
what was said, with the greatest clarity that`s technically possible. And
based on at least the excerpts that I`ve heard of the tape that have been
broadcast, you know, in this network and other places, I think it will be
fairly plain to the jury that he used an unmistakable racial epithet.

SHARPTON: So if, in fact, as you suspect that he did, does that not
really bolster a case of a state of mind that could lead to a hate crime?

CARTER: It bolsters it, but it doesn`t, it never not make it a slam


CARTER: As I pointed it out last evening. People have always been in
a state of denial over issues of race in this country. Unless you`re
wearing a Ku-Klux-Klan robe and a cross, they are people who prepared to
suggest every motive possible other than race even when it`s apparent that
race maybe a motive.

SHARPTON: There`s no doubt about that. But let me go back to you in
a minute Congressman. When you look at the residents in Sanford at the
city council meeting on Wednesday night over and over again, talking about
the distrust of police in their city, look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The Police Department didn`t do an adequate
enough job because they used the law for them and against people that`s a

It seems as though the Police Department of Sanford, or the City of
Sanford is condoning what is taking place here, and that`s where the
mistrust comes in.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When I see a cop, I feel like I should hide.
Because there is never no reason for me, there`s never no justice served
for me, a young black man in this city, and I feel like, it should not be
like that at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have seen a lot in this town. I have seen good
changes but I have seen bad stuff. I don`t care to dwell on that. But I
hoped that I would never see what I`m seeing now again in my lifetime.
This to me is as close as we can come to Jim Crowe.


SHARPTON: Congressman, it has to disturb you as a public servant to
see one after another after another talking about distrusting the people
that they ought to be having the ultimate trust of protection them and to
protect their community.

COHEN: Well, it is disturbing because that`s what a law enforcement
officer`s responsibility is, is to have trust. And if they have trust you
can`t really have a good society. They`re there to help people and should
be and to see that the law is followed. And there is no trust obviously in
that community, there is not trust in a lot of communities. And I think
there needs to be a major discussion. Bill Clinton talked about having a
discussion of race in this country. We still need that in a major way and
it needs to take place. We had a apology for slavery in Jim Crowe, but the
House of Senate passed but we never got that culminating moment we can get
together and have that discussion.

SHARPTON: I will have to break in, because we`re running out of
time, I`m sure you agree with that, Mr. Carter.

CARTER: I certainly agree we need that conversation, but we need to
talk about both the biased aspects and the affinity aspects. As you
pointed out before, there have been three incidents now involving the
Sanford police in which they appeared of given an inappropriate benefit of
the doubt with two persons who have a special relationship with the Police

SHARPTON: Congressman Cohen and Mr. Carter, thank you for your time.

COHEN: Reverend Al, keep on keeping on.

SHARPTON: We will do that. And thank you both, have a nice weekend,

Ahead. How George Zimmerman may have corrupted the neighborhood watch
program in order to play cop. And my thoughts, today, on today`s emotional
words from the President of the United States. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The national organization in charge of neighborhood watch
groups say, George Zimmerman did not behave correctly, that`s next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with new details about how Trayvon Martin`s
killer used and misused the neighborhood watch program to advance his own
obsession with law enforcement. Last September, Zimmerman invited Sanford
Police Department volunteer coordinators to come to talk to his community
about forming a neighborhood watch. And Zimmerman made sure he was elected
coordinator of the group. The volunteer coordinator says, she clearly told
Zimmerman what he could and couldn`t do. She showed him this slide saying
that says, quote, "Neighborhood watch is not the vigilante police, they are
to work with the police acting as the eyes and ears, and they`re supposed
to report on suspicious activity, not act on it."

Joining me now is Chris Tutko, national director of the neighborhood
watch program at the National Sheriff`s Association. They developed the
concept for neighborhood watch groups 40 years ago. Mr. Tutko, first,
thanks for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Now, you have 25,000 neighborhood watch groups registered,
but George Zimmerman and the watch group at Twin Lakes was not registered.
It certainly did not sound like Zimmerman was following the standards that
your group has established, does it?

TUTKO: No, it certainly doesn`t. One of the first things in the
manual that we have created and on our Web site, the first thing we say is
no weapons whatsoever. That includes mace, metal flash lights, and
especially guns.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. So no weapons, no guns?

TUTKO: Nothing, nothing, no.


TUTKO: Our job as a neighborhood watch is to be the eyes and ears of
the law enforcement. We make our phone calls and we move on and let them
do their job.

SHARPTON: So, and I`m looking at your guidelines, patrol members do
not possess police power, and should not carry weapons as you just said,
patrol members should not try to apprehend a person, and each member is
liable as an individual for civil and criminal charges should he exceed his
authority, am I correct in reading your guidelines.

TUTKO: Absolutely, absolutely. Again, this is a common sense
operation. And common sense tells you you`re not trained to do those
things, so you should not be involved in them.

SHARPTON: So, when Zimmerman is projected by some as the head of a
neighborhood watch group, not only was he not registered, it really gives
the wrong image of what real legitimate registered watch groups like the
25,000 under you really does and really does not do.

TUTKO: Exactly right. Well, we try very hard to keep the
communications between the neighborhood watch group and law enforcement,
they`re partners, and we want them to be partners, we want them to be able
to work together and come up with a solution for each neighborhood.
Locally, as well as regional.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at, let me show you some calls that
Zimmerman made. Dozens of 911 calls on non-emergencies. March of 2005, he
called 911, pothole blocking the road. November 2006, vehicle driving real
slow, blasting music, 2010, November, trash in the roadway. September
2011, open garage door. I mean, is this the kind of stuff that you have
neighborhood watch groups for?

TUTKO: No, no, we`re -- these are not quality of life issues. These
are issues that are annoying. And again, to call a law enforcement agency
on something along those lines, if you call them 10, 12, 15 times, and it`s
a non-priority call, what`s going to happen on the 16th call?

SHARPTON: Now, so this kind of personality is not only violating
certain things in your guidelines, but there are certainly doing things
that you don`t think even falls within what the purpose of neighborhood
watch is set up for?

TUTKO: Correct, correct. This is, when I first heard of this, it`s
horrific to begin with, but it certainly has no place in a neighborhood
watch for anybody to be carrying a weapon. Even if you have a concealed
weapons permit, you don`t have to right to be on neighborhood watch.

SHARPTON: Thank you to Chris Tutko for joining me tonight. The
tragedy on a rainy night 27 nights ago has reverberated across the country
and all the way to the White House. Today, the President spoke in personal
terms about the death of Trayvon Martin. That`s next.


SHARPTON: This tragedy is hitting home for millions of Americans.
Few of us knew Trayvon, but we knew him. His tragedy cuts fatal hearts.
During last night`s rally, Trayvon`s parents reminded us all why the fight
for justice is so important.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: I stand before you today not
knowing how I`m walking right now. Because my heart hurts for my son.
Trayvon is my son, Trayvon is your son.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: I would just like to thank every one
of you all for just showing us the love, the support, signing the
petitions, and making sure that George Zimmerman pay for what he did to
your son.


SHARPTON: Yes, yes, our son. Seventeen -year-old son, an innocent
child whose death is now forcing us to hold a mirror up to our country.


SHARPTON: Trayvon could have been any one of our sons. Trayvon could
have been any one of us. Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our
lives that we have seen too long. And we come to tell you tonight enough
is enough. We are tired of going to jail for nothing, and others going
home for something.


SHARPTON: Today, President Obama expressed what this tragedy means to
our nation, and then he spoke with very personal words.


OBAMA: I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out
how does something like this happen. My main message is to the parents of
Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.
And, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us, as
Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that
we`re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. All right.
Thank you.


SHARPTON: Think about it. Right now in America, tonight, in some
maternity ward, children of different races are being born. Why would some
be looked upon as citizens and others looked upon as suspects. I`m not
naive enough to think that we can change how people see us, but I am
determined to make sure they cannot treat us differently. And when they
do, they pay until we have a country where we are all equally treated as
citizens. We`ll be in Sanford, Florida on Monday to continue to cover this

Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton, "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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