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Girlfriend Heard Fatal Confrontation

Aired March 20, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from Los Angeles.

Explosive developments in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. You are looking at live pictures right now of a protest overflow at a church in Sanford, Florida. Now 350 people are inside that church. You`re looking at the overflow.

Of course, Trayvon Martin shot dead by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer. Trayvon`s girlfriend has just come forward saying they were talking on the phone, and she heard just about everything. You will hear her version of events next as we continue to ask the question, will there be an arrest? What is going on with this investigation?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, the girlfriend of a teenager shot dead by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer says she was on the phone with Trayvon Martin moments before he was gunned down. Tonight you`ll hear some of what she told the attorney for the dead teen`s family.

Plus, new details about volunteer George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting the unarmed teenager. Did he think he was a cop even though he didn`t have a badge? We`ll take your calls.

And he was convicted of drunk driving once. Then four teens died when he drove drunk again. But he was still allowed to walk free. Now he`s been arrested again for, guess what, drunk driving. This is his third time. Why is this man still out on the streets? I`ll talk exclusively to one of the dead teen`s fathers.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Twenty-two days pass without an arrest in the shooting death of a Florida teenager.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him. Yes, the person is dead laying on the grass.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: What George Zimmerman said to the police is completely contradicted by this phone log.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the crying of the little boy. As soon as the gun went off, the crying stopped.

CRUMP: She completely blows Zimmerman`s absurd self-defense claim out of the water.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What were cops so afraid we would hear, and why was this neighborhood volunteer carrying a loaded gun?

CRUMP: The dots have all been connected. Arrest George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin in cold blood today.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight Trayvon Martin`s final phone call right before he was shot dead by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer. Trayvon`s family says it is proof their son was shot in cold blood and not in self- defense.

It turns out 17-year-old Trayvon was talking to his girlfriend on the phone moments before he was shot dead by Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman. The girlfriend does not want to reveal her name, but listen to what she told ABC`s "Good Morning America."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. Trayvon said, what, are you following me? Then the man said, "What are you doing around here?" Then somebody pushed Trayvon, `cause the headset just fell.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trayvon was shot and killed 23 days ago walking back to his dad`s condo after making a 7-Eleven run for Skittles and iced tea. And since the local cops haven`t arrested the admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, a grand jury, the FBI and the Department of Justice are all now getting involved.

The attorney for Trayvon`s family says, well, all it took was a lot of protests.


CRUMP: The family, and I believe they never intended on arresting George Zimmerman for killing their child. And it wasn`t until we got involved and we started making a lot of noise about it.

Had the family not called us and nobody said nothing, you all know it would have been another black child killed, and nobody would have said a word. And that`s the tragedy in this.

The police were so easily to accept that his life really didn`t matter that much that we don`t even have to take a background check. And that`s the tragedy of this whole Trayvon Martin matter. That, unless the people got involved, our government officials were willing to say it`s really not that important.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But it is important to every one of us, because this case is a reflection of society and the stereotyping that goes on every day in every city.

What did George Zimmerman see that night before he shot Trayvon Martin dead? Listen to his own words.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH VOLUNTEER: These (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. Something`s wrong with him.

Yes. He`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we don`t need to you do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The cops told Zimmerman to back off, but he didn`t. He continued following the young man. Why? How did things escalate, and did this volunteer Neighborhood Watch captain essentially go rogue?

What do you think about this? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

Now, I want to tell you this -- this case has created such passions. We have with us right now Taraji P. Henson, the Academy-Award-nominated star of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." She starred with Brad Pitt. And she also stars on the hit series "Person of Interest."

She has actually walked off her movie set to call us tonight to talk to us, because she is so upset about this case.

Taraji, why have you taken time out, and what is it that you want to say?

TARAJI P. HENSON, ACTRESS (via phone): You know what? This really bothers me, because every time I look at Trayvon, I just see my son, who is 17. And I start shaking when I think about it.

Because the thing that really gets to me is that he was being pursued by this man and all he had in his hand was a pack of Skittles and a soda. And he had on a hoodie? I mean, do you know how many times my child walks out of the house with a hoodie on or a sweatshirt? Or -- I just can`t even imagine what his parents are going through, and I have to believe in God and know that he did not die in vain and that something good is going to come from this for the sake of all of us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, very, very articulate and impassioned appeal to really not let anything like this happen again. I think everybody admits it`s a tragedy.

But, like "Rashomon," everybody is seeing this from different perspectives. And we are covering all perspectives tonight.

A former Watch volunteer and a friend of Zimmerman`s, a friend of the shooter, says George Zimmerman is neither trigger-happy nor a racist. So listen to this from NBC`s "Today Show."


FRANK TAFFY (PH), NEIGHBOR: We`ve had eight burglaries, and in the majority of the cases the perpetrators were young, black males. So based on that, there was a heightened sense of paranoia in our community.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank Taffy (ph), that neighbor, joins us now from Sanford, Florida.

Frank, thank you for joining us. You were there in the very same location where there is a protest, so you know how passionate people are about this subject.

Why have you chosen to defend George Zimmerman when so many people are saying he shouldn`t have been carrying a gun as a Neighborhood Watch captain, and he should not have continued to follow this young man after the cops said, "We don`t need you to do that, sir"?

TAFFY (PH): First of all, Jane, thank you for having me on the program.

George is a stand-up guy, and stand-up guys need to be stood up for, and that`s why I`m here tonight. George is a very congenial, amiable man who took upon himself, self -- self-appointed, also a volunteer, who was not paid for his community efforts in keeping Twin Lakes safe.

We experienced eight burglaries in the past 15 months at our residences. Of those, the majority of the perpetrators were young, black males. This was a perfect storm, Jane. And we must not try to make this a black versus white thing but a human thing. A young boy has lost his life.

George Zimmerman is not a racist. George Zimmerman is a caring person who cared for his community.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you saying two different things. I hear you saying let`s not make this a racial issue, but you also did, yourself, bring race into the equation when you`re talking about the problems in that community.

Gloria Allred, you`re a victim`s rights attorney. Do you have a problem with what was just said?

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIM`S RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I think he`s describing what he believes to be the facts, but my question to you, Jane, is what was Trayvon Martin guilty of? Was he guilty of what I`ll call "BWW," black while walking? I mean, is that a crime?

And I think that`s the reason this has resonated with so many people, because so many young African-American men are considered guilty just because they`re out there in public. Maybe they have a hoodie over their head. Maybe they`re -- maybe he`s on the phone. Maybe he`s walking by himself. Maybe it`s getting a little bit dark. They have as much right to be in public and to be presumed innocent as anyone else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank, you want to respond to that?

TAFFY (PH): Yes. First of all, Trayvon Martin was a guest in our community. He was confronted by George Zimmerman. He was not aware of who Trayvon Martin was. All he did was go up to him, asked him what was your business here. And essentially all he had to respond was, "I`m here visiting my mother. I just got back from the 7-Eleven. What`s the problem?" End of story. There would be no tragedy today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait. Frank -- Frank, let me jump in and ask this question because of all the things that I`ve heard...

TAFFY (PH): Sure. Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... what upsets me the most is when he, according to his girlfriend who was on the phone, says that Zimmerman says to Trayvon essentially, "What are you doing here?"

Now why is he asking that young man, who is walking with Skittles and iced tea and talking to his girlfriend, "What are you doing here?" I mean, should anybody be targeted because of their race and be questioned about being in a neighborhood? We`re living in the 21st Century, Frank.

TAFFY (PH): I agree with you but then, again, this is a perfect storm. Once again, there are documented crimes in our neighborhood that have been perpetrated by one group of young black males.

George simply confronted the individual, asked him a question. He could have responded by saying, "I`m here visiting my mother."


TAFFY (PH): That would have been the end of the story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: To Sheena Arnold, actress. I want to get your response.

SHEENA ARNOLD, ACTRESS: I`m sickened. I`m sickened, and I`m sick and tired. And I understand that George is speaking up for his friend, but this is disgusting. And this is horrible that this is taking place, and there needs to be a change in the laws.

Let`s get to the real point. There`s got to be a change in the laws. We`re -- I`m tired of losing our young black men to foolishness, to nonsense.

My heart goes out to that family. My heart goes out to anybody that has a child. My heart goes out, because this was disgusting what happened. And I have a lot to say about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to get more of what you have to say on the other side of your break. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

He was acquitted of killing four teens in a crash, even though he admitted he was drunk. Now this guy has just been arrested for allegedly drunk driving again. Again. I`m going to talk to one of the dead teen`s fathers exclusively later in the hour.

But we`ve got a long way to go on Trayvon, and will this poor young man who was just talking to his girlfriend, will there ever be justice for his family?


CRUMP: He had a 9 millimeter gun. Trayvon Martin had a bag of Skittles. Where is the self-defense in that?



ZIMMERMAN: These (EXPLETIVE DELETED), they always get away. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. Something`s wrong with him.

Yes, he`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We don`t need to you do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The secretary of the homeowner`s association says George Zimmerman felt he was a cop, but, guess what? He wasn`t a cop. He had no badge, no training as a cop. And I have to say this, "The Miami Herald" is reporting that he attended a citizens police academy course in 2008, but that`s a citizens course.

I`ve got to wonder if he has issues, this shooter, this admitted shooter. I don`t want to convict him. He hasn`t been convicted of anything and he`s invited on our show anytime to give his side of the story. But it sounds to me like he had issues about control, power, and kind of an Al Haig mentality: "I`m in charge here," when he wasn`t.

And he was breaking the rules, carrying a gun when he wasn`t supposed to be as a Neighborhood Watch person. And kind of in this cop wannabe fantasy role, in my humble opinion. Where he was kind of acting out something that he needed to work out in a therapist`s office on the streets of his community.

Straight out to Jeanne, Michigan, your question or thought. Jeanne, Michigan.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. How are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeanne, yes, how you do? What`s your question or thought, my dear?

CALLER: OK. I have a thought, and I have a question. First of all, it`s very rare that somebody is able to get their record expunged for attacking a police officer, so I wondered if he made some kind of a deal with the police that he`s turning people in or doing something like that.

But how could somebody in that position be able to get a concealed, you know, license to carry a gun?


CALLER: I can`t even watch this show without crying. Every time I see this boy`s face and his family, it just brings me to tears. And this gentleman looks so much bigger than this young boy. It just doesn`t seem right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I think you`re -- you`re making so many excellent points.

Natalie Jackson, thank you for your patience, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, the dead teenager`s family. Are you going to be investigating any of this? I was very, very perplexed to find out he had a record essentially, accused of battery involving -- and it was expunged. It was expunged. And that`s my question. Are you going to investigate why his record was expunged?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: We know why it was expunged. The question -- the key to your question is, are we going to investigate? This is a job for the police department. This is a job for the prosecutors. The family has had to do their job.

So, yes, we know. We know why, because we did investigate. We did something that the police department thought wasn`t necessary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk to someone who wears a hoodie all the time but says he`ll never be questioned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in a minute but first here is your "Viral Video of the Day."



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said he lost the man, but the man, Trayvon said, the man was still following him. I asked him to run, and Trayvon said he wasn`t going to be running. Trayvon said he wasn`t going to run like that. He was going to walk fast.

CRUMP: He kept pursuing Trayvon Martin, and how do we know? Because this young lady connects the dots. She connects the dots. She completely blows Zimmerman`s absurd self-defense claim out of the water.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to demonstrate to you what was going on, OK? According to the girlfriend, she -- and this phone record backs her up. She was talking to Trayvon right up until the moment this has happened.

She says, OK, he was wearing an ear bud, and he`s got the phone. He`s got the Skittles. He`s got the iced tea.

Now some people had suggested maybe he looked suspicious because he had the hoodie on, but the girlfriend says that Trayvon told her, "This guy is following me," and he put his hoodie on because he felt that he was being scrutinized by this guy. So, so much for him being followed because he was wearing a hoodie.

I want to go to Michael Skolnik, editor in chief of And you`re an adviser to hip-hop mogul and somebody I admire so much, Russell Simmons. You`ve written an incredible article about how you wear the exact same outfit all the time, but you will never be stopped. Tell us about that.

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, EDITOR IN CHIEF, GLOBALGRIND.COM: You know, Jane, on Sunday I was walking around New York City with a black hoodie and baggy jeans and white tennis shoes on. And no one ever asked me what I was doing in the neighborhood. No one asked me, "What are you doing here?"

No taxicab will ever pass me by if I have my hand out. No one will ever grab their purse as I walk by. No one will ever ask me to pay before I eat. And it`s simple. And it`s one reason; it`s because I`m white.

This young man had the same outfit that I had on Sunday, and he was profiled as being suspicious because he was black.

And I can`t sit here and take the rights that I have for granted without fighting for the rights of others. I will fight for Trayvon. I will fight for Amadou Diallo. I will fight for Rodney King. I will fight for every young black man in this country who`s being racially profiled, who`s being, quote, "suspicious" because they`re walking through their own neighborhood. And that`s why I wrote the piece, and that`s why I`m here today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s see you on camera for a second. Let`s see you on camera for a second. There you are.

SKOLNIK: There I am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s because of the color of your skin, you feel?

SKOLNIK: I know it is. I know that this young man -- all we know is up to the point that George Zimmerman called 911, and George Zimmerman said to the 911 call that he looked suspicious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, let me read this.

SKOLNIK: Why did he look suspicious?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what I found disturbing. Because -- because we`re all discussing that. I think we`ve kind of answered that question. Stanford Police Department report, this is what bothers me. "I then noticed that there was what appeared to be a black male wearing a gray sweater, blue jeans, laying down on the ground. The black male had his hands underneath his body." He is talking about Trayvon.

"I attempted to get a response from the black male but was met with a negative response. I attempted to get a pulse on the black male." What is this emphasis with race in the police report?

And I want to throw that out to Amina (ph) Matthews, Ceasefire Violence Interrupter out of Chicago. Amina (ph), you`re going to answer that question after the break. We want to know why there is so much emphasis in the police department report on the victim`s race. What does that say? It`s mentioned at least half a dozen times in one sentence.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, police, fire or medical?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a mother, my heart has broken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin was visiting family in a gated community when he walked to a nearby convenient store. Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious black man in the neighborhood and even though dispatchers reportedly told him not to confront the teenager, he did. They got into a scuffle and Zimmerman shot the teenager in the chest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This man that took this baby`s life, he needs to be incarcerated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a full and complete investigation that is fair and will be presented to the state attorney`s office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him. Yes, person is dead is laying on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say he`s laying on --



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A grand jury now being convened; the FBI finally investigating the mysterious and tragic slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Good evening everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell back with you from Los Angeles; we`re live.

And the outrage is spilling and compounded as new audio was released of the victim`s final phone call, talking to his girlfriend. He realizes he`s being followed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Listen to how the girlfriend describes the final moments of this young man.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said he lost the man but the man, Trayvon said, the man still was following him. I asked him to run, and Trayvon said he wasn`t going to be running. Trayvon said he wasn`t going to run like that. He was going to walk fast.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even the cops warned George Zimmerman, the volunteer watch captain, not to pursue Trayvon. He didn`t listen to them. Moments later Trayvon is shot dead, but no charges have been filed.

Listen to this from 911.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police, I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him. Yes, the person is dead laying on the grass.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this vigilante violence under the guise of being a neighborhood watch? Should Zimmerman be arrested? Call me 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Ameena Matthews, you`re a Ceasefire violence interrupter out of Chicago I was reading a the police report which makes one, two, three, four, five references to the fact that the victim is a black male in the initial report.

Do you think that there is too much emphasis on race and especially anybody involved with any kind of crime whether a victim or a suspect is African-American. Boy that seems to be the big thing that is mentioned on this police report.

AMEENA MATTHEWS, SENIOR CEASEFIRE VIOLENCE INTERRUPTER: Right, yes. It was too much emphasis that, you know, race was an issue. If it was a young guy that was of white race, would it be a different police report?

You know, he is still a young child. He`s still a young child. My heart goes out to the parents and a great loss to the community, you know. This was a young guy that just started his life. He had a girlfriend and he hadn`t even expressed his heart filled and understanding of who his mother is to him, you know. And his life was cut to short.

So, yes, it`s just the stigma and what we do at Ceasefire is we educate the guys on the street as well as the people --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me jump in because I think it`s so important to do that, but we`re talking about this particular story tonight. And I have to say I think part of our problem -- I have written about this in my book "Addict Nation" -- is our culture, including reality TV.

Take a look at the hit show from "Cops" and tell me what you notice. This is from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands on the car for me, ok? Is there anything illegal that`s going to poke, prod or anything like that?

Get on the ground.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what`s on TV all the time. It is the job of journalists to shatter stereotypes, but critics of these kinds of shows, and I`m one of them, say that they only reinforce stereotypes. And it`s not just this show, "Cops". I don`t want to single it out. It`s virtually all crime-based shows.

But then, what about somebody like this guy, John Goodman, a billionaire who is on trial accused of killing a young man after allegedly driving drunk? Yes, he shatters everyone`s stereotype. He`s a polo player, et cetera, et cetera. Do you think if he had been in the neighborhood George Zimmerman would have walked up to him, Ameena Matthews, and said, and let me throw this to Tichina Arnold, who is here exclusively with us, the actress from "Happily Divorced". Do you think if that polo player had walked up, George Zimmerman would have walked up to him and said, "What are you doing here?"

TICHINA ARNOLD, ACTRESS, "HAPPILY DIVORCED": Absolutely not. It`s just that we`ve become numb as a society against young, black males. We`ve become numb because we`re fed stuff like the "Cops" show. And we`re fed things that, you know, black men are really meaningless. And I`m tired of it. As a single mom -- as a mother, period -- I`m sick of it because we have lost so many young men senselessly because of this and because of attitudes.

It`s not necessarily racism all the time. We`re fed foolishness -- foolishness and, unfortunately, young people die because of this, because of people like Zimmerman not really equating -- he called the police station 46 times. He should have been put on a list like he`s nuts. Obviously something is wrong with this man. He was looking for trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to go back out to Frank Taaffe, George Zimmerman`s neighbor who has been defending him. You`ve been hearing all this. What do you say, Frank?

FRANK TAAFFE, FORMER NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH CAPTAIN: Well, Jane, first of all my heart goes out to the family. I`m a father who lost his son three years ago at age 21, so I know what it`s like to lose a child. Secondly, this should have been averted from the beginning.

This was a perfect storm. We had a situation that escalated and ramped up to where a child lost his life. I`m not condoning the use of that weapon. It could have been done differently, I agree with that. But George Zimmerman is not a racist. Let me make that perfectly clear.

ARNOLD: Well, he should have stayed in his car. George Zimmerman should have stayed in his car and he should have done what the police told him to do. Stay in your car and let the police handle what -- why was he carrying a concealed weapon in the first place and you`re a neighborhood watch person? Why was he carrying a concealed weapon?

This man -- hearing the screams of that boy plead for his life -- he pled for his life.

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS` RIGHTS ATTORNEY: And it`s going to be really interesting to see whose voice that was yelling "help, help," because that voice is going to be analyzed. The state`s attorney has already said they are going to do forensic voice and analysis on that.

So the dispute over whether or not that is Trayvon`s voice or George Zimmerman`s voice will soon be put to rest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Trayvon`s mother says it`s her son`s. It`s Trayvon`s. She says she can recognize her son`s voice and she says it`s her son begging for his life essentially.

ARNOLD: This hits home with a lot of people. Let`s take racism out of it for a moment. Let it be your son. Let it be your son. This should not happen in 2012. It should not happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Frank, you wanted to say something. Oh, he just unplugged. He`s there. We`re having a debate that is emotional. And we understand that and we want to be fair.

I want to say this. I want to bring the big picture into it and I wrote this in "Addict Nation". I think that in many ways we have really created what I call the prison industrial complex and part of the problem is that we have taken so many kids from the inner city and fast tracked them into the criminal justice system.

And I have talked about this over and over again that, oh, the starlets of the world do drugs and they get a slap on the wrist. We just learned Brooke Mueller, who is accused of being caught with more than four grams of cocaine is not going to do any jail time. She gets probation.

The young African-American men who are not given the training skills, who often have a choice of either maybe dealing drugs or doing something else because they do not have the opportunity in a recession to have a viable job are fast tracked into the prison system, and it`s a big business.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a big business. The prison industrial complex, which is what I coined it but it`s been coined by other people but I investigated this for my book is a multibillion-dollar business, the amount of money made on phone calls alone.

So when we look at the bigger picture, do we have to look at our -- are we fast tracking a certain segment of our society into the criminal -- the criminal justice system, and is that part of the misperception?

Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of, your thoughts?

MICHAEL SKOLNIK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GLOBALGRIND.COM: Well, I think in this country, the war on drugs has failed and the war on drugs has created a population of 2.2 million people in prison, most of them being black and brown.

I do think however, what needs to be talked about -- and I will say this directly to my white friends, my white family and my white colleagues -- as white people, this is not a black issue. The death of Trayvon Martin is not black issue.

If we do not stand up for this young man and for his family, we have failed as a society, not as a people but as a society. If we do not fight for the rights of young people who are being profiled every single day, we have failed as a society.

I challenge you to stand up for this young man, make your voice heard. Don`t be afraid. I`m not ashamed that I`m white. I`m not guilty that I`m white. It`s the hand that I was dealt. But I made a choice. And I will make the choice to stand up for Trayvon.

ARNOLD: And I`m happy that he -- his blog was amazing because it was finally -- it was refreshing to hear a white man really speak his perspective because obviously I told Michael he has a different perspective on it because as a white man he sees things different, he`s treated differently.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a tragedy, and if we can use this as a national wake-up call to look at issues involving race, involving misperception, involving prejudgment, then Trayvon Martin will not have died in vain.

ALLRED: Jane, you made a good point about why so many references to black male in the police report. Why instead did the officer not say the victim or the deceased? Why does he have to continue repeating "black male" so many times?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s an excellent question and I think we have to look at this focus, this tremendous focus on race in America.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling "help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?





VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is important. Listen to -- one more time -- to what Trayvon`s girlfriend said she heard on the phone moments before Trayvon was gunned down.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon says, "What are you following me for?" And the man says, "What are you doing around here?" Next thing I hear is somebody pushing -- I think somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. And then I called him again and he did not answer the phone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, George Zimmerman allegedly asked Trayvon "What are you doing here?"

Now let me ask you a question, do you think he would have asked that to Simone Star? We`ll show you her picture in a moment. She`s the bikini model that we reported here on yesterday. She was arrested for allegedly being a drug lord and running a huge drug ring, allegedly. And here she is from ABC`s "Good Morning America". What is she wearing? A hoodie.

So would this pretty blond have been stopped and questioned on the street, "What are you doing here?" And I throw that question out to Maria Roach, documentary producer and social media activist.

MARIA ROACH, SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVIST: Jane, I think we have a race problem and we have a class issue in this country. We`re giving young people no opportunities. And so you`ve got this guy, George Zimmerman, who is a wannabe cop. I mean that`s what he is. He`s sitting around waiting for people to stop. Why was he sitting in his truck? He was waiting for someone to play target practice.

When I looked at that picture of Trayvon, I saw my seven-year-old child ten years later and I had to do something. I was furious, livid, that this man would get in his truck and wait and prey on a young, black man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think you raise the point about this being a larger social issue because if we don`t learn from it, then this is all happened in this young man has truly died in vain.

What I see when I look at the really big picture, and I`ll try to articulate this in an intelligent way, is that we have created a world where teenage boys from the inner city are not given the training to become engineers or carpenters or electricians or plumbers. And often they have really no alternative other than flipping burgers or selling drugs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me just finish my thought. And what`s happening is that then, when a youngster like this comes along. And you can see he has a football jersey. He`s a good kid. He`s done everything right and he pays the price. And this is a larger social problem of really, I would say, sort of funneling, funneling young men into no-win situations, Gloria.

ALLRED: Yes. And let`s remember the role that gender plays in all of this, too, because race has been mentioned. But it`s the fact that he is not only African-American -- that may be a factor -- but he is an African- American male and also a youth. And so for that reason he appears to be suspicious.

Yes, we have to put more education, money, into the education of young African-Americans. But let`s put more money into the education of Caucasians and also Latinos and Latinas about not engaging in stereotypes about African-Americans.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: About anybody.

ALLRED: Because stereotypes can lead to death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have experienced stereotype. I`m Puerto Rican and Irish and I try to explain to people who I am. And it takes a good half an hour sometimes. And that`s why I use my mother`s name and my father`s name, Jane Velez-Mitchell. Mitchell was my dad. Velez is my mother because I don`t want to have to give people war and peace about who am I.

And this is an opportunity. Within tragedy there is opportunity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back in a minute but first, you deserve -- and so do I -- a "Laugh Break".




AUSTIN MCLENDON, WITNESSED TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTING: Sometimes people get stereotyped and I fit into this stereotype of the person who got shot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Isn`t that sad? That 13-year-old boy saw what happened to Trayvon Martin and now he`s worried that something could happen to him as well.

We have to learn from this tragedy. We have to look inward. We have to look in the mirror. Are we all engaging in judgment on people based on accidents of birth or based on something that is irrelevant to what`s in their heart and in their mind?

I want to go out to the phone lines, Adeline, Michigan -- you`ve been so patient, Adeline. What do you have to say?

ADELINE, MICHIGAN (via telephone): My comment is this. When that guy saw this young boy and he chased after him and he approached him and he said to him, "What are you doing?" And he said I`m going to see my father. Ok. Why didn`t he just do this, give him the benefit of the doubt? Ok, I have a gun on you. Lay down flat. We`ll see if your story checks out, good. And call up the police backup and call and say I have a person here who I have already approached.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Adeline, I know you`ve waited so long. But I`ll give you the opportunity to respond.

ARNOLD: The problem is he should not have been out of his car, first of all. He is not a police officer. I`m going to tell from you a young, black male`s perspective. I am a black woman, obviously. If someone is in a truck that`s following you and you`re not in your neighborhood and your mom and your people on the phone saying, "Hey, this man is following me." He was scared himself.

It takes -- it takes a very simple person -- you don`t have to be a lawyer. You don`t have to be a doctor to understand the situation. When I heard those tapes and I heard that boy scream for his life, it`s unfortunate that we train our children to try to do the best we can and we can`t protect them from foolishness like this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This kind of profiling can be done sometimes by the police. Now I`m a big fan of the police. I love having police around. They protect me. I`m happy. I`m not attacking the police.

But I`ve seen it with my own eyes, Gloria, and you too, I`m sure you`ve seen it here in L.A. If they catch a minority kid on the beach with a can of beer, they`ll put him face down on the beach spread-eagle them.

ARNOLD: I was asked to get out of my car like that.

ALLRED: And it`s ridiculous because you know what; even if Trayvon was walking fast or if he was running or if he was walking slowly, none of those things are illegal activity. There is no reason to even think that that is suspicious activity. So why does he even have to be stopped to ask the question, "What are you doing here?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. And to my point when people come out of their homes with wineglasses, all the condo owners, and they go on to the same beach holding alcohol in their wineglasses, the police quite often say absolutely nothing. In fact, I`ve never seen them say anything.

ARNOLD: Listen, there is a double standard and we all know that. Coming from the African-American community on both levels, I see it off screen and on screen. And, unfortunately, there is a double standard and we all know that. It`s an unspoken word in the black community and it`s unfortunate that we do everything that we can to protect our children. We do everything that we can to tell them what`s right.

Don`t wear this, don`t do that, don`t say this, and this young man is dead from another man`s anger or just him being --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know they don`t call the show "ISSUES" anymore but this man had some serious issues. Has some --


ARNOLD: He needs to be brought.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Final thoughts, Michael Skolnik, 15 seconds.

SKOLNIK: Final thoughts, let us stop treating those who have built this country, literally built this country, like second-class citizens. It`s not South African apartheid that we can stop and ask why they`re in your neighborhood.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ameena Matthews, 15 seconds.

MATTHEWS: There is a bigger issue that we`re dealing with. Can you hear me? There`s a big issue that we`re dealing with. It`s an unresolved issue that the guy that killed Trayvon is dealing with but there is a stigma that I see here in Chicago, all over the nation, that we`re dealing with our young, black men, and how people feel about our young, black men, to kill him while he`s walking down the street instead of asking him how are you doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it there -- a lot of food for thought.

"NANCY GRACE" is next.