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New Info Enrages Trayvon`s Family

Aired March 26, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from New York City. Tonight, a brand-new story line emerges in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, and it has enraged Trayvon`s family. I`m going to tell you all about that in a moment.

But first, two massive gatherings going on right now, and we`re going to go straight out to Mike Galanos, who is in Atlanta at a rally that is getting bigger and bigger.

Mike, paint the picture of what is going on where you are right now.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Jane, the speakers are continuing. There are thousands behind me, and the refrain has been, "No justice, no peace. When do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now." That has been ringing out from the cradle of the civil rights movement right here in Atlanta.

Jane, back to you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Mike.

Now, we`re going to get two completely conflicting stories about what happened the night Trayvon was shot dead, and you will not believe how these stories do not match up, next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An innocent citizen was murdered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zimmerman claims Trayvon climbed on top of him and slammed his head into the sidewalk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not a racial incident. This was an incident where someone who was just trying to do the right thing ended up in a very, very bad position.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened in those moments. And that`s something that I don`t know at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The teen was suspended from school for ten days. An empty baggy found in Trayvon`s book bag tested positive for marijuana.

BEN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is still completely irrelevant to George Zimmerman killing their son on the night of February 26.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: They`ve killed my son, and now they`re trying to kill his reputation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon`s parents deserve answers, and we`re going to do our best to give them those answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re looking forward to giving $1 million, $1 million, $1 million for the capture of George Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you know where George Zimmerman is right now?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pretty shocking. And now we`re going to go straight out to Sanford, Florida. David Mattingly on the ground. A momentous event.

Take us there. What is happening?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jane, here in Sanford, Florida, I watched thousands of people walk to the city park. These are the people who could not get in the city arena today to hear the speakers talk about their displeasure over how this case has been handled in front of the city commissioners, the rest of them ending up in this park.

I can`t tell you how many thousands there are here, but I look out and I just see a sea of people going all the way across this city block here.

The meeting maybe has ended for now, but the talking still continues. There is a rally that`s going on here, speakers continuing to speak to the crowd here, and nobody at this point going home.

There are similar gatherings like this going on in other parts of the country, as well, including Atlanta, where Mike Galanos has been following a very similar meeting today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we saw Mike. We`re going to see him again.

These are huge, huge events. And we`re going to bring you the sound from the parents, from the parents` attorney, from Al Sharpton, who was also at this meeting. They are making demands. They want the police chief fired. They want others who were involved in the initial investigation fired. They want "stand your ground" law repealed. They want an independent investigation into how police handled all this. Listen.


REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You will say, well, there`s all kinds of conflicting stories. Well, I say to you, let`s do what we do in a sports game. Let`s go to the tape. Don`t take my word. Don`t take the family`s word. Just go to the tape. Play the tape.

On the tape Zimmerman said, "He -- yes, I believe he`s black." On the tape, Zimmerman said, "Yes, I`m following him." On the tape when he was told, "WE don`t need you to do that," he said, "OK," and kept following anyhow. Just go to the tape.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Happening right now, that`s just one of protest after protest after protest going on across the country in support of shooting victim Trayvon Martin. We`ve got one in Atlanta and another in Sanford, Florida, where the shooting took place.

And tonight the families fighting what they call a character assassination against their son. It was exactly one month ago tonight that Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman gunned down Trayvon Martin. And now, new information show us at the time of the shooting, Martin had been suspended from school for having been caught with a plastic bag that had marijuana residue.

Tonight, we`re now hearing George Zimmerman`s version of what happened that night, and he points an accusing finger at Trayvon. And Trayvon`s family is furious.


CRUMP: If he and his friends experimented with marijuana, that is still completely irrelevant to George Zimmerman killing their son.

FULTON: They`ve killed my son, and now they`re trying to kill his reputation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "The Orlando Sentinel" reporting George Zimmerman`s version of events, claiming cops had told him witnesses corroborate much of Zimmerman`s side of the story. In response to that "Orlando Sentinel" report, police say that information is consistent with what they told the state attorney`s office.

Zimmerman reportedly claims he was walking back to his SUV when he claims Trayvon approached him from behind. They exchanged words, and he claims Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and then beat him. Zimmerman told cops he Trayvon in self-defense.

Now, the police report that we all saw days ago does say that Zimmerman was bleeding from his face and the back of the head. But now Zimmerman`s attorney is saying, well, Zimmerman`s nose was broken.

The attorney for Trayvon`s family points out the dead teenager is not around to defend himself.


CRUMP: Once again, law enforcement is attempting to demonize and blame the victim by releasing bits and pieces of their own investigation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Check out this new photo of George Zimmerman for "The Orlando Sentinel," all dressed up in business attire. Doesn`t that paint a different picture than the images we`ve been seeing so far in this story?

Meantime, the New Black Panther Party has put a $10,000 bounty on his head. George Zimmerman`s attorney says the client is in fear and in hiding.

Today I did an exclusive interview with the special prosecutor for this case and found out she does not even know where Zimmerman is right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have not and -- like I said, we just got on this case. We`ve only had two business days to work on this case. My lawyers worked through the weekend on this case, and we will continue to work on it. We have not conducted any interviews with Mr. Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes or no question, do you know where George Zimmerman is right now?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You do not? That`s surprising. Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, right now our job is to continue our investigation as to the facts.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Now, the number of pro-Trayvon events across the United States, a staggering 18 rallies -- look at this map lit up like a Christmas tree -- to show support for Trayvon Martin. And I have to tell you, though, there is at least one individual, a couple of neighbors, who are defending George Zimmerman. And we`re going to talk to one of them tonight.

Joe Oliver, 73 percent of Americans in a just-released poll say that Zimmerman should be arrested. But you apparently don`t think so. Why do you feel George Zimmerman should not be arrested?

JOE OLIVER, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN SUPPORTER: Because he -- because the police don`t have the evidence to arrest him. Excuse me. Pardon me.

Florida law enforcement has a history of making an arrest whenever they think they have a case. And this hasn`t happened. Florida law enforcement also has a history of disclosing information long before a trial convenes. And by not doing this at the very beginning, like we have seen in the past here, that`s why we`re at this point now.

The information that has been let out, leaked, however, you know, this is information that, if it came out right at the very beginning, I think we`d have a whole different discussion right now.

But at the time, now, we`re dealing with getting the right information out, getting the information out about what happened from the time that George and Trayvon met up with each other and it`s difficult. I mean, Pandora is out of the box. Now the question is, how do we put it back in?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Joe, let me ask you quickly, why have you chosen to step up and speak on behalf of George Zimmerman? How long have you known him? And what do you say to those who say that he sounds racist?

OLIVER: I`ve known George Zimmerman for about six years now. George Zimmerman is not a racist, and this particular case is not based on race. This particular case is based on someone who lives in a neighborhood that has been victimized by a number of crimes who saw someone he didn`t recognize and, as a Neighborhood Watch person, called 911. Or not 911. He called the nonemergency number, and after that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe, can I jump in here and ask you a question? I kind of recognize this type of person. I`m not -- I`m not convicting him of anything, except maybe being a busy body at the least.

I mean, we all kind of know this type of person who`s always calling 911, who`s into everybody`s business. He`s a cop wannabe. He admitted that himself on an application to his citizen`s force. I mean, has this guy got psychological problems that he`s so obsessed with taking everybody else`s inventory and figuring out other people who are doing something wrong?

OLIVER: Well, he definitely has some psychological problems now because of what`s happened. He is extremely remorseful. He`s been through counseling, dealing with counseling now for posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, insomnia, lack of hunger. So right now, yes. I would say definitely yes.

But on the question as to being a wannabe cop, he was a semester away from graduating as a criminal justice major. And he was going to be very proud of that degree, like anyone else who was going to be a graduate of a criminal justice degree and would be. Does that make everyone who`s studying criminal justice a wannabe cop? Probably.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you see the scratches on his face here. He`s been -- he has a past. I mean, he was accused of...

OLIVER: You`re looking at a mug shot from 2005. That incident there was another incident where George Zimmerman was coming to the aid of a friend who was being arrested by an alcohol control officer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying that you are going to go out on a limb and say this guy was behaving completely appropriately, even though he was carrying a gun as a Neighborhood Watch man, which you`re not supposed to be doing?

OLIVER: I don`t know if he acted appropriately as a Neighborhood Watch person. What I do know is that the information that has been put out there from the very beginning as been inaccurate, starting with the characterization of George being white. And it snowballed from there, no punt intended.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re saying essentially...

OLIVER: I`m here -- I`m here -- I`m here because George Zimmerman...


OLIVER: ... is here because he feared for his life. If George Zimmerman had not defended himself, we`d be talking about Trayvon killing George. That`s what I know. And that`s what the evidence...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- OK, how do you know that? When is the last time you talked to George Zimmerman? Have you talked to him? When was the last time?

OLIVER: I talked to George this afternoon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Uh-huh. And...

OLIVER: I talked to George this afternoon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where is he?

OLIVER: I don`t know. I have no idea.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you -- do you talk to him from a cell phone or he reaches out to you or how does that work?

OLIVER: He reaches out to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you -- is he launching sort of a counter offensive, like, hey, I`m going to stand up for myself? There`s been reports telling his side of the story suddenly. And now we see him in a business suit, which we can play again. That`s been released from "The Orlando Sentinel," but we have a shot of him now in a business suit. And - - is this part of a campaign to get his side out?

OLIVER: It`s part of a campaign to get the truth out, no question about it. I mean, everyone involved with this is trying to get the truth out. And you yourself, you`re trying to get the truth out.

So the -- we don`t know what happened in those seconds when they got together. Only Trayvon and George knows. But we know of the injuries that George has. We do know of the witnesses who saw the altercation before the gun went off.

What we don`t know is how do we take this incident and take this outrage that it`s caused and address the real issue because of the outrage, which is the fear that we all have in America.

I mean -- I am an African -- I`m an African-American man, too. I`m a black man who`s dealt with prejudices in my life. I`ve grown up with them. I`ve been told about what it`s like to be a black American and having to deal with racial stereotypes, racial injustices and prejudices. I`ve experienced them myself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Joe, I...

OLIVER: So this is -- again, the discussion needs to move on once the evidence comes out...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Joe...

OLIVER: ... to how do we fix this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hate to cut you off. We`re at a hard break. In TV terms, that means that we`re going to go to black in a second. So I want to thank you for joining us tonight. And we`re going to analyze your comments.

And also at home, we`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1- 877-586-7297.

The Trayvon Martin tragedy has captured the country`s attention. More than a dozen events spread across the nation. People rallying behind the unarmed teen who was shot dead.

But we`ve got the other side of the story emerging tonight, and we`re going to tell you about that on the other side of the break, as well.



CRUMP: You all have to take a stand to let us know we can believe in you, that you will do the right thing, that you won`t sweep it under the rug when the cameras go and when everybody go home. Because they`re never getting Trayvon Martin back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Gardere, clinical psychologist, your analysis of what our previous guest, Joe Oliver, a friend of Zimmerman, said?

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it was very powerful that Joe Oliver should come out, being an African-American. The perfect plant, to have him out there, because he talks about racism, and that kind of deflects this whole idea of racism as being part of this thing.

But I think what Joe Oliver needs to understand is his friend George Zimmerman had a gun while he was on a watch. That is unorthodox. He followed Trayvon Martin, which is unorthodox when told not to follow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side. Stay right there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More Trayvon Martin in a moment. But first, here`s your reason to smile: "Viral Video of the Day."






SHARPTON: Execute the immediate arrest of the killer of Trayvon Martin. Any time you have an unarmed man killed, and you have a man on tape saying he was pursuing him, a man not authorized, a man not on the national register, a man that has a record of assault, a man who`s had violence against law enforcement, you have probable cause to make that arrest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Benjamin Martin in cold blood. For the Sanford Police Department to feel as though they were going to sweep another young black minority death under the rug is an atrocity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as rallies continue all over the country -- and we`re going to show them to you right now as I speak -- "The Orlando Sentinel" reporting the authorities have told them Trayvon Martin punched and climbed on top of George Zimmerman, and that Trayvon slammed Zimmerman`s head into the sidewalk. And this dovetails with what Zimmerman`s attorney told "AC 360." Listen to this.


CRAIG SONNER, ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: I believe that his nose was broken. He sustained injury to his nose, and on the back of his head he sustained a cut that was serious enough that probably should have had stitches, but there was a delay in him getting to the emergency room. So they -- by the time they got there, got to the doctor, there was an option not to stitch it up because it already had started healing, is my understanding.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`m going to take this out to Mark Nejame, criminal defense attorney. You`re in Orlando. You know how Orlando works.

These claims that Trayvon punched and jumped on top of Zimmerman were revealed to an Orlando paper by, quote, "authorities," but the Sanford Police Department then sent out this press release, saying, "Unh-uh, we did not release that information officially, although it might have are been leaked from within the department, and it will punish the leaker."

You know what? That kind of reminds me of? It kind of reminds me of that famous scene in "Casablanca," you know, where the captain says, "I am shocked, absolutely shocked to find out that there is gambling going on here."

You know how it works down there, Mark Nejame. What do you make of this? It strikes me as sort of disingenuous that, oh, sources from the police department are telling Zimmerman`s side of the story.

MARK NEJAME, ATTORNEY: Well, obviously, somebody somewhere wants to do a "CYA." They wanted to get out a propaganda campaign to somewhat justify their actions and to counter balance the clear public furor and fervor that`s going on concerning the death of Trayvon.

So, yes, there was a selected leak. Who did it, we don`t know. A lot of times it can be somebody in a clerical position, but oftentimes it`s somebody in a position of authority that release it to one of their press contacts so that it goes out and they can counterbalance it but not have their fingerprints on it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Crystal, Iowa, very quick, question or thought? Crystal, Iowa?

CALLER: Yes. My thoughts are, he called 911 like 46 times. How many of those calls was founded? I just know if I was calling 911, like, 46 times, they`d eventually tell me to stop calling, because I`d be considered a nuisance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s interesting. Yes. Was this guy, Zimmerman, on the police radar for being one of these gadflies that seems to always be playing cop?

On the other side of the break, we have a member of the New Black Panther Party. A very controversial interview, straight ahead.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you interviewed George Zimmerman?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zimmerman told police that Trayvon punched him hard enough to knock him down to the sidewalk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justifiable use of force has been asserted in this case and will continue to be asserted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever Trayvon Martin was suspended for had absolutely no bearing on what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it racially motivated? And the answer is, absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: African-American, Latino, Asian, or White. He would have done the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to force our government to do their job properly and if they don`t, we will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s in hiding. He`s changed his numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Law enforcement will look for George Zimmerman. That`s law enforcement`s job.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SUSPECT IN TRAYVON MARTIN`S DEATH: This guy looks up to he`s no good or he`s on drugs or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even in death they are still disrespecting my son.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: As rallies and protests continue around the country and I believe you`re looking at a live picture of one going on down in Florida right now, a controversial development.

George Zimmerman, the shooter, is in hiding and now the new black panther party has put a bounty out on him, on his capture.

Straight out to Quanell X, activist leader of the new black panther party in Houston.

Quanell, first let`s listen to a sound bite from a member of your group and then we`ll get your response to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By next week, we are looking forward to getting $1 million for the capture of George Zimmerman. We`re going to force our government to do their job properly and if they don`t t. We will.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The new black panther has also released this wanted poster offering a $10,000 reward for quote, "a legal citizen arrest of George Zimmerman."

Now, Quanell X, there was an African-American caller to our show previously, the Billy Show, said she doesn`t want to hear from you. She feels that you misrepresenting African-American community. And that your voice is actually going turn people against Trayvon Martin and those finding for justice for Trayvon Martin. What say you, Quanell?

QUANELL X, LEADER, NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY, HOUSTON: Jane, thank you for having me on the show. I am founding central committee member of the new black panther party under the leadership of Khalid Abdul Mohammed. But I`m also the leader of the new black panther nation.

I heard what the brother said at the protest rally down in Florida and I believe what the brother said on behalf of the new black panther was really inappropriate because placing a bounty on the head of Mr. Zimmerman will not really do anything for us at this position in time. I understand the brother`s spirit and his attitude, that we have zero faith in the system to give us justice when you have a young black man gunned down in cold blood. And we have a system that come to us and over and over again, look for ways to call justifiable homicide that murder unarmed black man. So, the brother`s and his disposition to what justice, I understand. But putting a bounty on his head and adding money to it is not something that we as black panthers should do. We can take that money. There are so much more we can get done by using that money in resources to develop programs within our own community to give our people a better opportunity at justice. The spirit was right but putting the money out there was not necessary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s actually a poster. You`re taking a look at a water poster right there. I`m very relieved to hear you say that, Quanell, because frankly, I really felt that this would cross a line of some sort.

And you know, as somebody once told me before I got sober and I got mad about something, but I was drinking. Hey, even if you`re right, you`re wrong if you express it the wrong way. And -- so I want to go to Isabel Wilkerson who has been very patient. And she`s author of "the warmth of other sons," a Pulitzer Prize winning author and she is weighing on what is happening here. Thank you for your patience, Isabel.

ISABEL WILKERSON, AUTHOR, THE WARMTH OF OTHER SONS: Well, my perspective is that this is in some ways a reflection as out pouring of support for the family and for the memory of this young man, is in some way the reflection that people know deep in their bones that something very wrong has been going on for many, many generations that reflects a cast system that`s still in place, still with us to this day when it comes to how African-Americans may be viewed. And you can think about the cases in the past of people such as a man who was -- had a cell phone and was shot by police because people in New York thought the cell phone was a gun. The dragging death of a man in jasper, Texas. And in each case, case after case, the slow response from authorities, all of this begins to sound very familiar to people.

And at this point when you look at this individual, you look at this young man and he is so typically American teenager, walking down the street, trying to get to the end of a game, walking with skittles and iced tea, and that he could lose his life because someone miss perceives him as potentially a criminal. And this is something that touches on so many themes of what we`ve seen throughout history.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think you`ve made a point about how this teen is being sort of stereotyped. Trayvon`s parents and their attorney say there is actually a calculated effort by law enforcement. They claim, and certainly Zimmerman`s defenders to smear this young man who is not here to defend himself. Listen to this.


TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: Even in death they are still disrespecting my son.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: Law enforcement is attempting to demonize and blame the victim by releasing bits and pieces of their ongoing investigation that they feel will help build Zimmerman`s claim up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ve got to wonder, is there a smear campaign going on here? We`re just hearing one month after the shooting that Trayvon was suspended from school because the school found marijuana residue in baggy in his locker.

And, you know, the family says that has no bearing on the case whatsoever. So, I looked up on the internet, 42 percent of all Americans admitted to having tried marijuana. I`m sure the percentages are a whole lot bigger than that.

I mean, how can we judge somebody -- Jeff Gardere, and you`re a clinical psychologist. You know, I`m in recovery, 1 years and a couple of days. But I`m the first to admit, yes, as a teenager I tried pot and I`d like be to have anybody who didn`t -- I know there are some who didn`t and I applaud them. But it`s pretty common to bring that into the equation right now, is that a smear campaign, do you think?

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think in some ways, it does demonize the victim here. We know, you know this Jane, that whites use marijuana much more than blacks but blacks are arrested much more for drug use and drug possession. And this is an extension of that.

I think what we really need to do here is focus on the fact that perhaps the Sanford police didn`t do what they were supposed to do. That is really what is going on here and if we can stay within that purview and not introduce what perhaps the new black panther party is saying, as well as the legal citizen arrest and boiling up the pot here. I think that we`re staying in safe, safe ground and keeping this thing the focus, the laser beam on what is really happening and it`s about justice and it`s about rights.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Absolutely. And now because I firmly believe that the local police department dropped the ball on this, I mean, they let him leave with the clothes that were evidence, the special prosecutor is now involved. The governor assigned a special prosecutor who seems confident that it won`t even come down to a grand jury convening on April 10th. Listen to what she told me in an exclusive interview today about that.


ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Since I`ve been the elected attorney for the last three years and two months, we have yet to elect a grand jury to determine whether not file charges in a justifiable use of deadly force case. We do a thorough investigation. We make that decision ourselves.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The prosecutor, Richard Kurtz and another very, very patient person who has waited for us to his turn to speak, can you translate that legally for us? She says well, talking about never having to use a grand jury. What is she sin galling there?

RICHARD KURTZ, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. What she`s trying to explain is that in the state of Florida, there is so rare that you begin an arrest and prosecution by convening a grand jury. All you have to have is the probable cause to make an arrest and the prosecutor - and this prosecution team is extremely experienced. I have talked about this before. They know what they are doing. They are not going to worry about the race. They are not going to worry about the rallies. They are going to look at the case and their ethical obligation is, can they prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt?

So what can happen is, she can make an arrest or issue an arrest warrant for second-degree murder, manslaughter, and then as the evidence dictates, they can then at some later point make a decision to go to grand jury. You go to grand jury because you are going to charge someone with first-degree murder. Or, it`s just a political decision, you might want to pass the buck on.

Angela Corey is not going to pass the buck on anything. She is going to make a decision to --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So wait. You`re saying that she`s -- what she`s saying hinting at is maybe it won`t be a first-degree murder case but some kind of second-degree murder which would maybe be a middle ground?

KURTZ: No. Good question. Actually, no. Most of the arrests that I deal with, and I have a lot of homicides and a lot of death penalty cases. When you believe you have probable cause to make an arrest, you are not going to wait until April 10th until the grand jury to make a grand jury investigation. You`re going to issue an arrest warrant for at least a second-degree murder. And as you evaluated - and by the way, second-degree murder with a firearm is punishable by life in prison. So, it`s not like it`s a middle way or soft ball.

She would do that and then ultimately makes the decision to indict later. It happens all the time in the state of Florida. It`s not unusual. She makes a decision. If she can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, she is going to issue an arrest warrant, have the judges arrest warrant and get him off the street immediately and try to calm the situation.

But I tell you, if it doesn`t happen, you will know that a thorough investigation was done in this case because she`s going to do it right and she`s not going to care about the backlash. She is going to do right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this, this was right in the same area where the Casey Anthony case happened. And we`ve learned through the Casey Anthony case that Florida has full discovery. So every piece of evidence is going to come into the public arena at some point down the road. We`re going to hear it all. But we`re just not hearing it right now. And that gives me some small measure of comfort. I would love to hear it now. The 911 call is very revealing. But there`s going to be other stuff to come down. Just like the Casey Anthony case. New evidence filtering out every day. And I can`t wait to see all of it.

Let the sunshine in on this case and show the truth. More in a second.



MARTIN: We are not asking for act for an hour. We are asking for justice, justice, justice. And it tears me apart to sit here and listen to the slander that they are giving to my son and listen to them not arresting -- the murderer of my son.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I know I cannot bring my baby back but I am sure going to make changes so that this does not happen to another family.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The parents of Trayvon Martin who was shot by George Zimmerman, speaking at a rally in Sanford, Florida, just a little while ago and they suggest that there is a smear campaign going on against their son who is not here to defend himself.

Al Sharpton, the reverend, said -- well, he agrees, essentially.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is this? All right. We can`t hear exactly what he is saying. But essentially, he is saying, they are going to try to turn your son into a junkie, into a thief and it seems like there has already been that efforts suddenly we hear that though he was suspended in school for having marijuana residue in a baggy. All right. I think we have that sound bite now. Let`s listen to it because this is interesting. Here`s Reverend Sharpton.


SHARPTON: I said to the parents, as much as it will hurt, they will try to make jury son a junkie, a thief, an assault and everything else before this is over. If you want to discuss something relevant, discuss what Zimmerman might have had in his system. Discuss his past. Mr. Zimmerman was not tested. Trayvon was. Let`s examine why we had a test on the victim rather than the one that was arrested.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, CNN ORC poll shows 73 percent of Americans believe George Zimmerman should be arrested. But Mark Nejame, criminal defense attorney out of Orlando, Florida, where this is all going down, 55 percent of those polled still approved of the "Stand Your Ground" law. I found that rather shocking. What`s the buzz in Florida about this "Stand Your Ground" law?

MARK NEJAME, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it goes back to what Miss Martin was saying who lost her beloved son. She wants to make sure this doesn`t happen again. The way that stops, in part, is to understand what is behind this law. This was an NRA pushed law got in effect in 2005. And they`ve been riding through the country state to state to try this to allow more citizens to arm themselves. It`s an expansion of the (INAUDIBLE), a valid law where you have the right to protect your own home. But to take everywhere and you will notice that the NRA has been amazingly silent even though they pushed this law from top to bottom. There`s a dangerous law on the book that allows legalizing just five murders to take place. And that`s what should to be address in part if we are going to change the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Joe Oliver, your George Zimmerman`s friend. You say, he is not a racist. Do you feel he`s taking the heat for basically the investigation that many believe, including myself was bumbled by the local police?

JOE OLIVER, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FRIEND: I believe that he is taking the heat period. I believe that he is a scapegoat for a lot of the racial divide that we have in this country. But I also believe that while visibly it definitely looks like the Sanford police have bumbled this case, but the Sanford police had turned everything they have done over to the state`s attorney who forwarded it to another state`s attorney and hence now, we`re waiting on the grand jury to convene because of the history of the Sanford police department. I mean, this is a no-win situation because of the police department that we are dealing with. And the police chief who recently stepped aside temporarily was apparently hired because of those racial tensions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he continues to get his pay. Over $100,000 a year. We`ll be right back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More Trayvon Martin in a moment. First, I think we all deserve a little laugh break.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You just heard Joe Oliver, who is there and a friend of George Zimmerman say George Zimmerman is not a racist.

So, we`re here with clinical psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere. I want to give you a chance to weigh in and back and forth, gentlemen.

GARDERE: I really believe, Joe, what you`re saying, that maybe George Zimmerman is not a racist but is it possible that George is prejudiced? Is it possible that he feeds into stereotypes? Is it possible he may be violent? Is it possible he may have preconceived notions about people who wear hoodies? Certainly we know that just because you`re not racist doesn`t mean that you may not be skewed in your thinking in the way that you look at other people, Joe.

OLIVER: I will not argue that point, but I will tell you and I will agree that it is possible. But what we do know is that George was going home from this police report. He wasn`t on patrol that night. He was going home from the grocery when he saw Trayvon Martin.

And so, not only is it possible, it`s very factual that he lives in a neighborhood with multiple burglaries that needed a neighborhood watch. And as a neighborhood watch person, he saw a suspicious person in the neighborhood that he did not recognize, a neighborhood that had been victimized by burglaries recently.

GARDERE: But Joe, wasn`t he told by the police -- didn`t you hear this on the tape, Joe, they told him do not follow the individual. Do not follow.

OLIVER: They told him that --

GARDERE: When the police tell to you do that, there may be a psychological issue.

OLIVER: Listen to the tape again. They told him, you don`t have to do that. And he said, OK. So what happened after that? We didn`t hear the rest of the conversation. We didn`t hear him say whether or not he was still following him. We didn`t hear whether or not he was going back to his vehicle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say we have to move beyond issues of race. We have to be careful about how we judge people based on their clothing. And, you know, I go back to Americans don`t dress in rigid patterns anymore. It`s not like back in the days of mad men, men wore suits. The women wore hats and gloves. Clothing was much more sort of revealing of what your status was in life, what you did.

Now, -- I mean, take a look at some of the most famous people, Justin Bieber. We have shots of him wearing a hat backwards. We have Leonardo Dicaprio, hat pulled low. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of facebook, one of the richest guys in the world, walks around in a t-shirt.

I mean Isabel Wilkerson, you`re a Pulitzer prize winning author, is part of the lesson here don`t assume -- that`s the first rule of journalism. It should be the first rule of life. Never assume what somebody is thinking or doing or what they do or what their motives are just based on what they`re wearing.

WILKERSON: Yes, that`s one of the tragedies of all this of this is that, we`ve been through so much in this country. We`ve been through civil rights. We have been through civil war. We`ve been through so much and still at this moment we always get to the point where we say in 2012 we should be past this. And it`s almost as if we`re in the middle of a relapse from this illness that we thought we recovered from. And here we are again, the entire country fixated on what is it that happened between these two people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what they say, three steps forward, two steps back. With all progress it`s never just linear. It`s always kind of an up and down roller coaster. Let`s hope this national dialogue moves us forward to more tolerance. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now to the phone lines. The very patient, Pat from Florida, your question or thought, Pat.

PAT, CALLER, FLORIDA: Hi, Jane, how are you.


PAT: I`m just calling because I believe everyone that was involved from the Sanford police department should be fired for not doing their jobs correctly. I also would like to make a comment that in my lifetime I have never seen all the races and religions come together in a peaceful demonstration to seek justice for Trayvon Martin. And I believe the black panther group should not be involved in this at all because it`s only going to cause uproar.

And also my take on the injuries to George Zimmerman is that he was following and stalking Trayvon, and you can tell on the 911 tape that he was out of breath, so it`s very possible that he fell.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it there but, wow. You became a panelist. "Nancy Grace" next.