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Witness' mom says police told her Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't self-defense

The mother of a 13-year-old witness in the slaying of Trayvon Martin said Wednesday that police waited five days before seeking to question her son and then told her they didn't believe the shooting was self-defense.

Asked by host Al Sharpton on MSNBC TV's "PoliticsNation" whether the boy, who called 911 at the time of the incident Feb. 26, believed George Zimmerman, 28, shot Martin, 17, in self-defense, Cheryl Brown firmly replied, "Not at all."

(Msnbc.com is not naming the boy because he is a minor. Sharpton has been active in protests and petitions seeking to have Zimmerman arrested.)

ABC News reported this week that Sanford, Fla., police sources told it that the boy saw a man fitting Zimmerman's description lying on the grass crying for help seconds before he heard the gunshot that killed Martin. Many news organizations, including msnbc.com, linked to and referred to the ABC News report. Advocates for Zimmerman have argued that the report supported his attorney's claim that he fired in self-defense.

Sanford police, who have previously said they wouldn't take questions about the case, didn't answer calls seeking comment from msnbc.com on Wednesday.

The shooting occurred Feb. 26, and Brown's son called 911 to report it at the time. But police didn't seek to question him until March 2, Brown said. She wasn't home, so they returned March 5, meaning eight days passed before police actually questioned a key eyewitness.

"I was waiting every day for someone to come knocking on the door," she said.

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Once they did, Brown alleged, police tried to lead her son to agree to certain assertions, such as the race of the person on the ground and what he was wearing. But the boy stuck to his insistence that he couldn't make out either because it was too dark.

Brown alleged that the lead investigator "told me this was not self-defense," saying she should "read between the lines" because "this was racial stereotyping."

Martin was black; Zimmerman is Hispanic.

She said the investigator said he had children of his own "and seemed angered by it," saying, "I need to prove this was not self-defense."

Brown's son was walking the family dog when he saw the person lying on the ground, she said. He went to help, but the dog escaped from its leash, so he went chasing after it rather than rushing to the person, she said. 

Police have confirmed that Zimmerman told them that Martin knocked him to the ground and began beating him. At no time did her son see anyone beating anyone, Brown said.

In the days since the shooting, the boy has reflected on whether he might have been able to help or even save Martin had he not tried to retrieve his dog, she said.

"Unfortunately, he has a lot of guilt about that," she said.

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