Guests: Michael Eric Dyson, Eugene O`Donnell; Ken Padowitz; Benjamin Crump, Lisa Bloom, Kendall
Coffey, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Mack
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Tonight`s lead, the more we learn the more curious it gets. The
breaking news today in the Trayvon Martin case, the mayor of Sanford, Jeff
Triplett, says he had to override the Sanford police department and
prosecutors to get the 911 tapes released. This could be very critical.
In fact, the mayor said, quote, "Everyone was saying to me no, no, no.
Don`t turn them over. I just continuously asked why wouldn`t we do this.
We`re not here to hide anything."
We`re not here to hide anything, but the more we find out, the more it
looks like somebody is trying to hide something. Something does not add up
in this case. Eighteen days ago, the Sanford police chief Bill Lee said
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BILL LEE, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Zimmerman has made the
statement of self-defense. Until we can establish probably cause to
dispute that, we don`t have the grounds to arrest him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There was not enough probable cause to make an arrest? I
want to know what police could have heard to make them think there was not
probable cause. The lead homicide investigator wanted a manslaughter
charges. We have 911 tapes. We have an unarmed teenager shot to death.
And now a new eyewitness has come forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw two men on the ground, one on top of each
other. Obviously, I`m thinking, OK, something really horrible was
happening. I felt like they were scuffling, and then I heard the gunshots.
The larger man got off, then there was a boy, obviously now dead, on the
ground facing down. After the shots, obviously someone -- the man got up,
he didn`t appear hurt or anything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He didn`t appear hurt or anything else. He certainly
didn`t look hurt 35 minutes later when he arrived at the police station,
and another key piece could come from the funeral director who prepared
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD KURTZ, FUNERAL DIRECTOR: There was no physical sign like
there had been a scuffle or fight. You know, the hands, I didn`t see any
knuckles, bruises, or what have you. And that is something we would have
covered up if it had been there. I think I have seen any side of any cause
(INAUDIBLE). The story just does not make sense that he was in this type
of a scuffle, or fight, and there was nothing that we could see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: No physical signs of a fight. No cuts on Trayvon`s neck or
face. But Zimmerman and his family tell a completely different story.
Here is George`s brother breaking his silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S BROTHER: He was out of
breath. He was barely conscious. His last thing he remembers sewing was
moving his head from the concrete to the grass so that if he was banged one
more time he would not be in diapers for the rest of his life and being
spoon feed by his brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How does the brother know? Is this coming from George
Zimmerman? Again, this does not look like a man fighting for his life 35
minutes ago. The police report from the crime scene says that Zimmerman
complied with all of the officers verbal commands. That same report says
that Zimmerman was given first aid by the Sanford fire department and
cleared by medical personnel and taken to the police station.
Here`s the bottom line. It`s been 33 days, there needs to be an
arrest. Let`s be very clear. We never said Zimmerman should be convicted
or what. That would be wrong. But they gave him an instant acquittal.
What could possibly justify letting this man go? Since day one, we
have just asked for police to arrest George Zimmerman and let the justice
system play it out and look at the evidence.
Joining me now is Eugene O`Donnell, professor at John Jay College of
Criminal Justice. He is a former New York City police office and
prosecutor, and joining me from Florida is Ken Padowitz, a former homicide
prosecutor, and Michael Eric Dyson, an MSNBC political analyst and
Thanks to you all for being here tonight.
Now, Eugene, the mayor had to fight to get the 911 tapes released. Do
you think they`re hiding something or are this normal?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE:
There is nothing about this case that is normal. The chief says on the
tape that you played that he had no evidence to dispute the account that
Mr. Zimmerman gave. We`re seeing there was a very rich layer of evidence
that strongly suggested no justification. And the idea they would not
release the tapes, for what reason would they not release the tapes? The
tapes are very vital to showing the deliberation, the mind-set, the
determination of Mr. Zimmerman in this case.
SHARPTON: Well, Ken, you would think that maybe someone in the police
department didn`t want to release the tapes because the tapes clearly
dispels the notion of self defense and that was the basis they claim they
let him go on.
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER HOMICIDE PROSECUTOR: Well, clearly, that`s an
additional piece of evidence that shows that they had probable cause had
they looked at all evidence to make an arrest at the scene. And I got to
tell you, it may be a surprise to many people, reverend, but I looked at
that tape when they brought the shooter to the police station, and he was
And you know what that means? That means that he was placed under
arrest at the scene. You can`t be un-arrest in the state of Florida. He
was placed under arrest. They had to know they had probable cause at the
scene. He was marched out of the police car in handcuffs. He was marched
down the police station hallway in handcuffs, and unless they were fishing
when they were at the police academy when they taught that you cannot un-
arrest once you make an arrest in the state of Florida, they had to know
that the proper procedure and book him into the jail.
SHARPTON: This is fascinating. They handcuff him and bring him in
but then they don`t book on - they don`t fingerprint him. They don`t mug
shot him. So, how do you un-arrest him? I mean, if that is extremely
unusual, isn`t it if they went through all of the preliminary steps of the
arrest, why didn`t they complete it, and who would have the authority, you
were a prosecutor, who would have the authority and what would be the
reasoning to undo with a process they already started?
PADOWITZ: Well, the bottom line is that he was arrested as far as I
can see. There`s no dispute about that. And that somebody at that police
department made a decision to not to go through normal procedure, to not
book him into the jail, to not fill out a probable cause affidavit.
And you know what, it doesn`t matter that they released him. He was
under arrest and under the Florida rules of criminal procedure, he has to
be charged within 175 days from the day of that arrest, otherwise he is
forever barred with being charged with a crime in this case. It is clear,
again, once and for all that there is some type of an incompetence going on
at this police department. And I`m astounded that they released him
without booking him into the jail.
You couldn`t be arrested for a DUI. You can be arrested, Reverend,
DUI and blowing a breathalyzer 0.0, and then still not be book into the
jail. They are going to book you in any way here in Florida.
SHARPTON: Dr. when you hear this because this is interesting. If he
is not charged within 175 days, he can never be charged. And they`re going
to argue because he was handcuff even though he was not book and photo and
all of that that they, by Florida law call that an arrest. Which means our
demands for an arrest even becomes more important. Because if the clock
ticks, he is gone, he is out of this because they never charged him within
the time limit in Florida of him being handcuffed.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s breaking news on
your show. The first time I heard it that this man was obviously, very
much arrested, that he was brought to the station in handcuffs, and brought
out -- you`re absolutely right. This is remarkable. This is stunning.
This is astonishing that a man who was in handcuffs, brought to the station
is then set free without explanation. And the suggestion that if he is not
arrested again or brought back within 170 days then he is forever free of
the charge and cannot be re-arrested for that same charge is suggest even
more of than inspiration and motivation to get justice done.
As you bean this program, we`re not talking about trying him in the
court of public opinion. We`re talking about due process. And if we have
to go to this extreme and this extent just to get him arrested, what more
has to happen in order for justice to truly be done? This is a botched job
from the very beginning and I hope that the justice department takes note
of all of this to make sure that Trayvon Martin in death will perceived
more justice than he did certainly in life.
SHARPTON: And that we avoid this from happening to others.
Eugene, let me go back to you, and I want Ken to weigh in on this
because he was a prosecutor and you have been a prosecutor.
Probable cause, what constitutes probable cause at a crime scene? Let
me give you some of the elements. Zimmerman was armed, Trayvon was
unarmed. Zimmerman was pursuing Trayvon. Zimmerman was not brought to the
hospital for injuries. There`s enough there to charge him and enough there
to constitute probable cause. They say there was no probable cause as I
play to police chief saying that, yet he can argue I was handcuffed and the
clock starts. I mean, this is amazingly, to me, looking like there is a
real game being played on the public.
O`DONNELL: This really should concern every American. If you apply
this kind of standard, the victim is a teenager, he was laying dead, the
shooter makes a cursory claim of self-defense, there may or may not be an
injury, there`s a tremendous trail of evidence I think readily available to
give you probable cause. What ultimately would happen in the trial`s
another conversation. But this framing of the fact -- this framing by the
police that just waiving the claim of self-defense suffices, and that
pretty much stop there, there is a injury so therefore you take his account
and you either don`t find the evidence based on this evidence that was
never located, but it`s readily available, probable cause it`s a low
standard, 51 percent we say in criminal law, I don`t see any way this
wouldn`t been a probable cause.
SHARPTON: Now Ken, a lot of time has gone on, can they still make a case?
Has evidence been lost?
PADOWITZ: Well, clearly as time goes on, the case becomes more and
more difficult but there`s plenty of evidence in this case. This is not a
trial at this point where someone has to be proven at a standard beyond and
to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. This is a much, much lower
standard called probable caused. And there is ample evidence of probable
cause for an arrest to be made in this case and for charges to be brought
by a grand jury indictment or by information from a prosecutor. And
there`s no doubt in my mind that is present, its lower standard of probable
SHARPTON: Now Dr. Dyson, from the beginning of this when we got
involved on this show and me with my civil rights activities, we called for
an arrest. Clearly you can`t say what you want him charged with or that
you believe that he is guilty or not guilty because you don`t know the
charge until you see the evidence. All we said is an arrest.
As others have said you`re rushing to judgment. There`s no rush to
judgment, we`re saying there`s probable cause. Yet it seems that those
that are supporting him are trying to acquit him without them seeing the
evidence or seeing anything at all. So while they`re talking about rush to
judgment, all we are saying is probable cause, arrest him. That was a
chant at all, the rally. The other side is saying he did no wrong without
any review of the evidence.
DYSON: I mean it`s a failure of due process. We don`t know what
courts are to do. They`re to adjudicate. What is that mean? They`re to
deal with competing claims. Some said he did some say he didn`t. What`s
the evidence say? What is the argument? What`s the narrative? What`s the
story? Where is the impeccable proof that he did or did not? What where
is the circumstantial evidence?
All we`re asking for, Reverend Sharpton is for this to be brought
before the proper judicial authority to be viewed in due process and to
allow justice to be done. As you`re saying, you can`t acquit a man if he
has not been charged because we have to see the evidence that that charge
has been predicated. And it`s frustrating that we cannot even get this man
arrested for the purposes of justice to be done.
SHARPTON: Eugene O`Donnell, Ken Padowitz and of course, Dr. Michael
Eric Dyson. Thank you for a fascinating conversation. Thank you for your
time tonight. Have a good weekend.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, who is George Zimmerman? A disturbing new picture
of him is emerging as a former coworker described him as Jekyll and Hyde.
Plus, Zimmerman`s brother says medical record will proved the shooter
acted in self-defense. The Martin lawyer responds to that allegation next.
And an ugly smear campaign against Trayvon Martin has reached a new
law. But we won`t let them get away with it.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: George Zimmerman`s family comes to his defense saying his
life was in mortal danger. Martin family lawyer, Ben Crump, responds,
SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with the George Zimmerman
defense. We have not heard or seen from George, himself, but his brother
and father are coming to his defense.
Joining me now to respond is Trayvon Martin`s family lawyer, attorney
Thanks for being here tonight attorney Crump.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: Thank you, Reverend Al, for
SHARPTON: Now, I want to play some things and let you respond because
they have been all through the media and I would love for you to be able to
give your response on behalf of the family.
First you have George Zimmerman`s father talking about Trayvon had
said -- let me let him speak for himself. This is the father on George
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FATHER: George is trying to get
off of the concrete trying to move with Trayvon on him in to 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."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How do you respond to that?
CRUMP: There`s more to that tape, Reverend Al. He also says in that
tape that Trayvon Martin beat his head against the concrete for over a
CRUMP: Now. Maybe we`re looking at the wrong video or something,
Reverend Sharpton, but there is no way, anywhere on that video where it
shows a person who has had their head beat against the concrete for over a
minute. And I understand that he is a father trying to protect his son,
but it seems like the more they talk the more that evidence disputes them
left and right.
SHARPTON: Now, while you are talking, I`m showing the video. This is
Zimmerman walking in the police station 35 minutes after the shooting after
he allegedly had his head beaten into the concrete.
Go ahead Mr. Crump.
CRUMP: Yes, sir. Reverend Sharpton, before he sent a letter to the
"Orlando Sentinel" newspaper saying his son didn`t even get out of the car.
And then the 911 tapes came out so he had to back off of that. And now, he
says that his head was beat against a wall -- concrete for a minute. And
now this videotape comes out. And they have to back off all of that. And
now his brother is coming with statements, and it`s just like --
SHARPTON: So, originally the father in a letter to the "Orlando
Sentinel" newspaper that he never got out of the car.
CRUMP: Exactly. He said Trayvon Martin attacked him while he was in
SHARPTON: Let`s see the brother. Let me play this from the brother
and let you respond.
CRUMP: Yes, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR.: He has taken control of his firearm. He
prevented his firearm from being taken from him and used against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Would there be some evidence of that if that was the case?
CRUMP: You would think so. It was really interesting about his
brother. His brother takes it further than his father. When you listen to
this whole statement and say that he was hitting his head against the
concrete, and that his brother is going to be paralyzed and that he was
going to have to change his brother`s diapers.
Now, I don`t know what video tape he`s looking at, because it seems
like he is walking just fine when he was in that video tape. And I don`t
see any evidence or even close to paralysis. I don`t even see anything
close to or injury in that videotape. We have enhanced it. We looked at
it with our legal team and we stared at it. And we`re saying, where is the
broken nose? Where`s the blood on the back of the head? I mean, it`s just
-- the evidence is there for you to look with your own eyes. Listen to the
911 tapes. You don`t hear Trayvon saying anything about you`re going to
die or anything like that in that video -- in the 911 tapes.
SHARPTON: Now, if this goes to trial, can these statements be used?
How could this, be used by a prosecutor in terms of Mr. Zimmerman if this
is his testimony or his statement that his father and brother are properly
appropriating what he is allegedly saying.
CRUMP: You prefaced it the right way, Reverend Sharpton. If it is
his testimony and we know took a statement from (INAUDIBLE), they shared
bits and pieces that were convenient to suggest that his nose was broken,
that his head was beat into the concrete. But, Reverend Sharpton, we know
from this video that report is not true based on what we see.
So, if that is his words and his father and brother are saying
everything he said to the police, that he can be in peace. But more
importantly, as you assume he told this to the lead investigator, Reverend
Sharpton, and the lead investigator after listening to Zimmerman`s
statement, and being able to evaluate the evidence, that night on the
scene, said that he didn`t find his testimony to be credible, and he
recommended an arrest. And it was the state attorney and the police chief,
and the now acting police chief of Sanford. And we don`t know who else is
there at the meeting. We`re told there may have been more people at this
meeting. So, we have to find out who was at that meeting and find out why
they overruled the lead investigator.
SHARPTON: Yes. I need to ask you about that. And I know we have to
go but what do you make of that meeting? And we were just told by a former
prosecutor that they may try and argue that the fact that he was handcuffed
means he was arrested, and that in 175 days if he is not charged he can
never be charged which makes it even more reasonable why those of
interested in justice saying there is probable cause, arrest him. Wherever
it goes, we don`t know but he should be arrested so you don`t lose the
Who was in that meeting, and why would they put the city of Sanford
and the rest of the country in that kind of predicament by cuffing him but
not completing the arrest, but starting a clock that could run out in a
CRUMP: Exactly, and that`s the question there. Who was in the
meeting and what were their motives and did that do anything to impede the
hands of justice, or impede a fair and impartial investigation. They
should be held accountable.
SHARPTON: No question about it and I think it also raises us to why
many of us are saying there must be an immediate arrest because there is a
time limit in Florida. If you continue to run the clock, he can just walk
away after those amounts of days saying he can never be charged. They need
an arrest, a formal complete arrest, mug shots, and all of the rest. And
we need the charges this and to move forward, and then let`s have an open
trial and see where it goes.
CRUMP: Yes, sir. And you`re right. I worry about technicalities
because there are ways to use those technicalities, so we have to stay on
them, Reverend Sharpton. And I know you and politico will all stay on
them, and we thank you so much.
SHARPTON: We go right down the middle. We want justice way either
way it goes. We will be fair.
CRUMP: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: Ben Crump. Thanks for your time tonight. Have a great
CRUMP: Yes, sir. Thank you.
Still ahead, a new detail on Zimmerman`s past including a history of
aggressive behavior. Do they shed light on what could have happened?
SHARPTON: Could controversies in George Zimmerman`s past play a role
in the investigation in to his chilling? We will ask two legal experts,
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. New details about the man
who shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Details that go straight to the heart
of the question, who is George Zimmerman, and why hasn`t he been arrested?
A former co-worker of Zimmerman tells the "New York Daily News, Zimmerman
was fired from his job as an -- security at illegal house parties in 2005
for being quote, "too aggressive." Quote, it was like Jekyll and Hyde.
When the dude snaps, he snapped. And a co-worker adds, one time this woman
was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool
and totally overreacted. It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but
he got all nuts. He picked her up and through her. It was pure rage.
This new information about Zimmerman is all the more disturbing.
In 2005, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
That same year, he and his ex-fiance filed petitions against each other for
domestic violence. And his ex-fiance reportedly accused him of hitting her
in 2002 and 2003. Some people are trying to bring up Trayvon Martin`s past
to try and smear him. But the big difference is, he was carrying skittles
and iced tea. No one disputes that. George Zimmerman was carrying a
loaded gun. And looking into his past could shed some light on why he used
Joining me now from Miami, it`s Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney,
and now a criminal defense lawyer. And in Los Angeles, Lisa Bloom and
attorney and author of the new book "Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay
Smart in a Dumbed-Down World." Great to have both of you with us.
Let me start with you, Lisa. Lisa, what do you make of these reports
especially of the former co-worker saying that Zimmerman had a Jekyll and
LISA BLOOM, AUTHOR, "THINK": Reverend Al, I think this is very
important information. All of us as human being, we`re trying to sort this
out. We want to know more about both of the people involved and this
certainly does not shed any positive light on George Zimmerman. It also
makes the police look bad, why are we learning about this from the media.
There was a homicide of a 17-year-old minor. It was incumbent upon the
police to do the investigation that would have led to this kind of
information. It may not ultimately be admissible in court, it probably
won`t be. But this is the kind of thing the police should have looked into
in the investigation that they should have done.
SHARPTON: Now, Kendall, another quote from this co-worker says that
Zimmerman, let me quote, "He definitely loved being in charge. He loved
the power." Does that say anything to you about his personality?
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER FLORIDA U.S. ATTORNEY: I think it really helps
us understand what happened that night. That you had somebody who wanted
to be a police officer for the wrong reason. He wanted the power, the
ability to use a gun. And when you put the other pieces together, I think
we are starting to really understand George Zimmerman. I agree with Lisa
that I think this kind of evidence is very unlikely to be allowed inside of
trial if there is a trial some day. But here`s one of the things it does,
and I think it could bear upon how the special prosecutor decides on this
case. The first thing she has to be convinced this to a moral certainty,
that this guy unlawfully killed Trayvon Martin. And this kind of
information, even if it isn`t the kind of evidence that might be come in
front of the jury someday helps drive defensive righteousness that a case
can be a righteous prosecution, even if it`s not an easy case for
SHARPTON: But Lisa, given the background that we`re getting of Mr.
Zimmerman, given the kinds of things we`re learning, why do you think that
somebody in law enforcement, somewhere it seems in Sanford police are
digging in to fight for this guy? I mean, this city now is becoming known
all over the world, and not so great of light. Is this kind of guy worth
it without just taken probably cause, arresting him, and let the evidence
go to trial and see for themselves what we`re dealing with here? Why are
they digging in on this?
BLOOM: Well, I have no idea why they`re digging in and it certainly
looks bad for them with each passing day. I mean, it appears as though
they initially just completely believed George Zimmerman`s story. You
know, in every shooting there is somebody left holding the gun. And
there`s somebody who is deceased. And the person left holding the gun is
never going to say, you know, what? I committed cold blooded murder or I
acted with reckless indifference to human life. There always going to have
a story, and self defense are going to be their strongest story. It`s very
common for somebody to assert that. But the police have a duty to do an
investigation. And now with the entire world watching, the Sanford Police
Department has an obligation to follow up on this and to do the
investigation that they should have done. It`s not too late for them to do
that. It`s not too late for them to make the arrest that they need to
make. And I agree with you Reverend Al, the world is watching.
SHARPTON: Now Kendall, you used to be the U.S. attorney down there, I
mean, how do you explain why the police are acting here? Is there a
connection here or something you suspect we don`t know yet? I mean, why
are they taking what appears to be such an irrational stand?
COFFEY: Well, we`re not going to know that right now. And that`s why
the Justice Department for the Department of Law Enforcement and others are
investigating, I believe, not only George Zimmerman, but also investigating
the investigation. Because every single day, evidence comes out that makes
you just drop your jaw and say, why wasn`t this looked at before? Why does
Reverend Al Sharpton come with interviews a couple of nights ago? And last
night, an analysis of the video, it seems to be much more penetrating
relevant than what the Sanford Police Department was doing in the aftermath
of February 26th. So, this investigation is going to get a very close look
now, and it`s very hard for us to speculate on the answers. We know one
thing, the lead investigator thought there was probably cause for an
arrest. We know that somehow he got overruled and that somehow has to be
explained and substantiated.
SHARPTON: Now, Lisa. Some of the things neighbors have said about
Zimmerman is quote, "I think he took his job too seriously, he`s
overzealous, fixated on crime and focused on young, black males." These
are his neighbors saying. These adds to the whole picture given by the ex-
employee that worked with him.
BLOOM: Yes, it`s a very disturbing story. And there are a lot of
facts back in forth in this case but one thing we know for sure, the 911
operator told George Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin and George
Zimmerman decided to do that anyway. Why did he decide to do that? Was it
because of the hoodie? Was it because of the color of Trayvon Martin`s
skin? Was it because he was a controlling person who wanted to take
control of the situation? Was it a combination of these three factors?
But you`re right, we`re learning more and more about him every day. And
it`s just stunning to me that the media is doing this and not local law
enforcement. That they should be doing this from the beginning.
SHARPTON: In fact, Kendall, when I go through the log of some of the
911 calls Zimmerman made since 2005. In March, 2005, he called 911 about
pothole blocking road. November 2006, vehicle driving real slow, blasting
music. November 2010, trash in the roadway. September 2011, open garage
door. January of this year, children playing in the street. It would seem
to me he would be annoying figure to police calling on such petty things
like this, yet they treated him like he was something to be treated
special, it just doesn`t add up.
COFFEY: It doesn`t add up. He is exactly what responsible police
officers don`t want. They don`t want a citizen walking around with a gun
who doesn`t have the training and the professionalism to use that kind of
thing. They don`t want a self appointed vigilante becoming a self
SHARPTON: Lisa, let me end with you, give me your final thoughts.
You`re saying, I`m saying and others have been saying by the tens of
thousands, he should be arrested, your final thoughts.
BLOOM: Well, I agree, but let`s not just point the finger at the
Sanford PD or George Zimmerman, let`s point it at ourselves for allowing
stand your ground laws that tied the hands of police and law enforcement,
they may very well want to make an arrest. Especially the prosecutor but
they have to live with the law that was enacted in the state of Florida and
more than 20 other states nationwide. I think that is really the root of
the problem here.
SHARPTON: Yes, I agree and I also want to challenge some of them that
say, that law doesn`t apply here, then they ought to come out with us and
say, then fine if it doesn`t apply, then tell us that you agree he should
have been arrested. They will go that far, Kendall Coffey, and Lisa Bloom,
thanks for coming on the show tonight, have a great weekend.
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
BLOOM: Thanks, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the right claims we`re rushing to judgment in the
case of Trayvon Martin, but the real rush to judgment was what happened
that night in Florida. My response to the critics ahead.
SHARPTON: Some critics on the right saying we`re rushing to judgment
in the Trayvon Martin case. I say we`re doing anything but that. That
SHARPTON: From the beginning the Trayvon Martin tragedy has been
about one basic issue. How did a 17-year-old with iced tea and skittles
end up dead? And why was the man who killed him not arrested? Over the
past 33 days, we have learned a lot and we`ve tried to answer that
question. But for some on the right, it has become a different issue.
They`re criticizing people like me for rushing to judgment. Here is Bill
O`Reilly last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When it comes to the pundit,
I`m angry about the rush to judgment. Accusations are enough to condemn
folks. The press wants a story and doesn`t care who gets hurt in the
process. Allegations becomes front page news no matter how flimsy they
are. No media observer knows exactly what happen the night Trayvon Martin
was killed. Yet, there they are, bloviating all over the place.
Exploiting the death of the young man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, I have been on Bill O`Reilly`s show, but he got this
one all wrong. Then there is former Bush appointee conservative pundit
Bill Bennett writing today about the media`s quote, "rush to judgment" with
little regard for fairness, due process, or respect for the troubled death
of a young man. Respect? What they need to understand is not about a rush
to judgment, it`s exactly the opposite. We`re trying, we`re not trying, I
repeat, not trying to convict George Zimmerman. We`re clearly trying to
stop you from acquitting George Zimmerman. Let me be very clear. When Mr.
Crump and the family called me and said that they wanted the man that
killed their son and his client arrested because due process had not taken
place, there was probable cause.
We came in because we were asked to come in. Because there was a
question of the civil rights of that young man was violating. That is not
exploiting. Answering people asking for help, and out determining their
right. There is probable cause here, there should have been an arrest.
Now, deal with the issue. Quit creating straw men and knocking them down.
At least argue with us about what we`re raising.
Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC, Melissa Harris-
Perry. And in Los Angeles, John Mack, the legendary former president of
the Los Angeles Reserve League and a long time civil rights activist.
Great to have both of you with us.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": Yes.
SHARPTON: John, what do you think the right is trying to do by
shifting this conversation about Trayvon?
JOHN MACK, LOS ANGELES URBAN LEAGUE: Well, I think they`re frankly up
to their same old habits and really trying to get us off the real issue. I
would say first of all I applaud you and all the others. I think people
have been very balanced and very fair and calling for justice. I think
that we have a situation where there are many within the right who would
like to pretend that race is not an issue. They would like to pretend that
a young African-American 17-year-old male, who was shot down without any
apparent justification, that that was just an isolated incident that people
should not make a lot of noise about. I mean, I just -- I think you and
others need to stay on the case. People are just calls in for a very
simple thing. Here you have a situation, 17-year-old young man, you listen
to those tapes to that 911 call, it sounds as though Mr. Zimmerman saying
that he should not have been there, and he frankly apprehended him when he
was advised not to apprehend him. I don`t think there is anything wrong
whatsoever as a matter of fact I commend, all of you who are demanding that
at least he be arrested.
SHARPTON: Now Professor Perry, I mean, what`s going on here? All
week long, we have seen right-wing websites smearing Trayvon, pictures put
out that isn`t even really him trying to make him look like street thug.
False pictures I repeat, and in some cases, others act like he was a drug
dealer, suspensions from school, I mean, what`s going on here?
PERRY: Well, let me just say this quickly, if he were street thug, if
he were suspended from school for drug use, which is not what is was, which
is rumor. If all those things were true, why would George Zimmerman have
had a right to shoot him and kill him? So, those things are not true. But
even if they were true, why would that give Zimmerman the right to kill
Trayvon? And I think, you know, you have said it repeatedly. I have said
it repeatedly. Everyone believes that George Zimmerman deserves a
presumption of innocence, and a vigorous defense and a jury of his peers.
No one think that he should not have those things. And those are things
that African-Americans in this country have not had for most of American
history. And yet, everyone who`s calling for justice in this case, think
they should have those things. To be told that we`re rushing to judgment,
there is nothing that I would less like to do than to have to analyze the
evidence associated with the Zimmerman and Martin case. I wish I never
seen the Zimmerman and Martin case.
PERRY: I wish that the Sanford police had done their job. But when
it doesn`t, the third of state in the American democracy is American media.
Our responsibility when we see a miscarriage of justice at this level is to
use the only power we have. We cannot arrest George Zimmerman, what we can
do is continue to make the injustice clear until someone who does have the
power acts on it.
SHARPTON: And John, you have headed the L.A. Urban League, a civil
rights organization like when I`m affiliated with National Action Network
on NAACP does involve. People come to us when the system doesn`t work to
help to highlight the issue, to get the system to work. And that is what
this family did. They keep acting as if people are running in. When we
got involved there was no national issue. We had to help try to bring the
nation`s attention to the fact that this family deserve justice in terms
for the probable cause and the arrest of George Zimmerman.
MACK: You`re absolutely right. The realty is when you`re in a
position of leadership and the civil rights movement, people come to us
when there are injustices that have been inflicted upon them. Or at least
they feel that they have been infected upon them. And I think that there
is another important point we need to make here. Were it not for the
transparency, we`re not for the light that was shined on this tragedy by
the media and by the leaders like you and others, I`m afraid that not only
would we not have had an arrest but it would have been swept under the rug
and it would have been a matter of business as usual. You know, one of the
things that I find very troubling about this whole incident, you`re right
is the way now they`re now trying to blame the victim and make this
innocent victim the villain. And that`s frankly an old game, to your point
about the right wing that they play. And have played over the years, and
you, and others in leadership positions, such as Mark Mariel (ph) among
others respond to our constituents when they call upon us. It`s not about
jumping in and running in trying to find an issue or cause to be on top of
just to be on television.
SHARPTON: You`re right, and Mark Mariel was down there with us again
at the invitation, and let me say this. Let me show you, Professor Perry
as John was talking, here are the pictures of the day that have been
circulating of Trayvon. The one on the right trying to playing wearing
gold teeth. It`s not even him. This is what has been circulating. Rush
Limbaugh even want to step -- forget just the media and civil rights
leaders, Rush steal the most widely listened radio host, plays this about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Obama saying that if he had a
son it would look like Trayvon Martin is simply a way to advance the
liberal agenda. That there is blatant racial discrimination. That this
country has not advanced beyond the days of slavery. That we are still
immoral, unjust, and need to be transformed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Well, you can see he reached and trying to bring the
President in and all kind of irrelevant stuff. There are circulating
pictures, some are him, that might have been him, and some are not him in
terms of Trayvon. The fight goes on but we`re going to fight. John Mack,
Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you both for your time tonight. And have a
great weekend. Be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry tomorrow morning and
Sunday morning, 10: 00 a.m. to noon here on MSNBC. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: When I first got involved in the Trayvon Martin case, I
vowed to keep the pressure on until an arrest is made. I`ll be back in
Sanford tomorrow at a march organized by the NAACP SEIU, National Action
Network and others. As we`ve seen in the past few weeks, this tragedy has
extended beyond Sanford. More than 20 rallies and marches are being
planned all over the country this weekend calling for peace, solidarity and
justice. These demonstrations started almost two weeks ago with the
million hoodie march in New York and we`ve been going strong ever since.
Millions of people are also using social media to demand justice and online
petitions started at change.org. Calling for an arrest has now reached 2.2
million people signatures. Celebrities are getting involved.
For the past few nights, legendary musician Bruce Springsteen has been
dedicating a song to Trayvon, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers kicked off a
show wearing hoodie tops with the phrase, "All to Trayvon, stand what
ground." The story has gotten so much national attention, it tops the
national news interest in a recent poll. And we`re going back to Sanford
tomorrow to keep the pressure on. Those on the right are saying, you must
have just peace, but there is a qualitative difference between peace and
quiet. To have real peace, you must have justice. They`re really just
saying shut up, and allow injustice to go unchallenged. That`s not peace.
That`s just cowardly silence. And that, we can never afford if you`re true
American patriots to be silence in the face of real questions.
Thank you for watching, have a good weekend, I`m Al Sharpton,
"HARDBALL" starts right now.
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Guests: Michael Eric Dyson, Eugene O`Donnell; Ken Padowitz; Benjamin Crump, Lisa Bloom, Kendall