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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

What Happened the Night Trayvon Was Shot?

Aired March 29, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City.

Tonight, surveillance video seen around the country. It`s George Zimmerman getting out of a police car the night he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. What does this video tell us? Does any of it show Zimmerman`s alleged injuries? We`re going to analyze it inside and out as we try to find out what happened the night Trayvon Martin was shot dead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, George Zimmerman`s father speaks out. He claims the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman and threatened to kill his son, provoking Zimmerman into pulling the trigger in self-defense. But do police station surveillance tapes tell a different story? We`ll analyze those crucial tapes tonight with veteran investigators.

And we`re also asking tonight is there just too much focus on race in our culture, particularly in law enforcement? We`ve got this case covered from every angle, and we`re taking your calls for the hour with the Trayvon Martin family attorney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I`m so very hurt. This whole situation is a nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t imagine losing a 17-year-old son. Being through a process to make sure that we know the facts and then whatever happens the right thing will happen and justice will prevail.

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

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the video, and I`ve looked at and reviewed it a number of times, I don`t see anything consistent with a broken nose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The shooter`s father talks for the first time and says George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The injuries described by George Zimmerman that made him sound as though he was really -- should have been on a stretcher.

CRAIG SONNER, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: He sustained an injury to his nose and to the back of his head. Broke his nose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no visible evidence of that on new surveillance video of George Zimmerman arriving at the Sanford Police Department on that terrible night. The question now: what does it prove or not?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight reactions pouring into the astounding video of George Zimmerman just minutes after the Neighborhood Watch volunteer shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Tonight we`re going to analyze these new video images taken soon after the shooting. This could provide the most important clue as to what really happened that night. Trayvon`s family calls the images the smoking gun. You can be the judge tonight.

Surveillance cameras caught Zimmerman just as he arrived at the Sanford, Florida, Police Department the night he shot Trayvon. Zimmerman gets out of the back seat, handcuffed, and he is escorted inside by two officers.

So what does this video tell us? Does it show George Zimmerman has any injuries to his face or the back of the head? Is his back wet from rolling in the grass, like he told police? Tonight we`re going to analyze this footage from beginning to end.

Trayvon`s mom says it`s all the proof she needs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FULTON: This video is the icing on the cake. This is not the first part of evidence that they have had. They have had the 911 tapes. And they have also had witnesses. This is -- in addition to what the Sanford Police Department already has, this video is clear evidence that there is some problem with this case and that he needs to be arrested.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trayvon Martin`s girlfriend, who was on the phone with Trayvon right before he was shot, spoke to ABC News. She said Trayvon thought he was being followed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was walking fast. When he say this man was behind him again. And he come and say this look like he about to do something to him. And then Trayvon come and said the man was still behind him. And then I come and say run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now Zimmerman`s father, speaking out for the very first time and has a completely different account of what happened that night. He said his son was fighting for his own life when he shot Trayvon. Listen to this from WOFL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of "You`re going to die now" or "You`re going to die tonight," something to that effect. He continued to beat George, and at some point George pulled his pistol and did what he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what does this video show us? We`re going to play the surveillance video highlighting key moments and go straight out to Natalie Jackson, the attorney for the family of slain teenager Trayvon Martin. As we watch this tape, what does this show you, Natalie?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON`S FAMILY: Well, it shows us that George Zimmerman had no visible injuries. It shows he did not have the injuries that he and his representatives have claimed that he had.

Through his lawyer, Craig Sonner, we heard that he had a broken nose. He had gashes in his head that were so severe that they needed stitches, but he didn`t get them.

We heard through Joe Oliver that he had a broken nose and his head was bleeding, his nose was bleeding. We heard through his father that he was fighting for his life.

We don`t see any torn clothes. We don`t see any blood. We don`t see any swelling. We don`t see any redness. We don`t even see him having a problem walking or getting out of the car. This totally contradicts all of the stories that purportedly George Zimmerman told his family and friends.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s compare this video to what`s in the police report. I`m holding the police report in my hand right now. So get some insight. Compare and contrast to the surveillance video.

The report by police say Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of the head and was put in the back of the police car and given first aid. So he might -- there`s a possibility he might have gotten cleaned up by the paramedics.

Now, looking at the video, as you mentioned, Natalie, I can`t see any cuts, blood, bruising or anything like that. But if he did have a broken nose, you`ve got to wonder. Wouldn`t that be bandaged or have some cotton stuck up there to stop the bleeding?

Now, here`s another important point, though. Zimmerman claims he did not realize his nose was broken until the next day.

So you`re taking a look at various shots. We`re going to watch this video again come through. You`re going to see eventually the back of his head without any obvious injuries.

Nevertheless, Zimmerman`s attorney, the other side, told NBC this video proves absolutely nothing. It`s poor quality. And since authorities said they cleaned up Zimmerman`s injuries, you wouldn`t see them in this footage. Let`s listen to that attorney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SONNER: It`s a very grainy video. However, if you watch, you`ll see one of the officers as he`s walking in, looking at something on the back of his head. The video is very grainy. And I`m not sure that it has, as far as being able to see the injuries that were recently sustained and then later cleaned up from -- clearly, if the report shows he was cleaned up before he was taken in the squad car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Criminal defense attorney out of West Palm Beach. Obviously, we`re trying to determine what happened in that crucial approximately one-minute gap when Trayvon and George Zimmerman come together. Did he use justifiable force, or did he kill an innocent teenager in cold blood? What does this video tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think this video gives us any concrete answers. Again, this is part of the puzzle of an event that we may never really know the truth, because we only have George Zimmerman`s version. And we don`t have Trayvon Martin`s version.

And so I don`t think that this disproves Zimmerman`s story or proves his story, because again, this doesn`t show whether or not he would have a broken nose. This wasn`t a video of the incident itself. This is everybody jumping to a judgment as to, well, you don`t see a broken nose and you don`t see an injury on the back of the head so it must not have happened. And that`s just plain wrong.

JACKSON: This video was taken within an hour after this incident. If -- really, what we`re hearing these people who are defending this video saying is that -- that emergency workers were miracle workers. They -- you don`t -- you have...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Natalie -- Natalie, nobody is defending the video. But the fact of the matter is, again he was treated. He was treated. And there`s no question about it, Natalie, that he was treated before this video was taken.

JACKSON: There is a question. I beg to differ. There is a question. There were two officers at the scene. If you read the police report, one of the officers does not even note any injuries at all to George Zimmerman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what? I want to see the EMT report. That`s what I want to see.

JACKSON: I do, too. I think it would be interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to see those reports as to what was done.

JACKSON: I would, too. Then I would tell you. No matter what, you cannot deny George Zimmerman`s own words. You cannot deny the 911 tapes. You cannot deny the witnesses who said that George Zimmerman was the aggressor. And now we have a video that doesn`t show any visible injuries. There should be an arrest in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and add another piece to the puzzle. Because we are all, I think, in agreement that we`re on a search for the truth. If Trayvon Martin did -- and that`s a big if; if, if, if -- if Trayvon Martin did hit Zimmerman`s head on the pavement as Zimmerman claimed to police, would there be blood on the pavement?

Listen to what Zimmerman`s father is now telling WOFL-TV, speaking out for the first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S FATHER: After nearly a minute of being beaten, George was trying to get his head of the concrete, trying to move, with Trayvon on him, into 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)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now this is what Zimmerman is claiming. Obviously, this 17-year-old is not here to defend himself any more to give his side of the story.

But there`s always evidence. If crime scene photographers were out there, and they reportedly were, wouldn`t they have taken photos of any blood?

In other words, I`ll direct this at J.A. Baer (ph), criminal defense attorney out of Tampa. If George Zimmerman is telling the truth that his head was hit on the back of the cement and he says he had blood on the back of his head, wouldn`t that be on cement? Wouldn`t the crime scene photographers have gone there and taken photographs showing blood on the cement? Wouldn`t the authorities have tested the blood to see whose blood it was?

J.A. BAER (PH), CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You`re absolutely right, Jane. The bottom line is this was a homicide. The question is whether or not it was an excusable homicide, or whether it was a justifiable homicide.

But no matter what, at the time at the scene we had a homicide. This wasn`t a natural death that occurred here. This was a tragic, horrible situation. So a homicide investigation would have been conducted. There should have been pictures taken of his head, of his injuries.

I think the videotape is important, but the critical pieces will be what did the crime scene techs do at the scene? Show me the tape measure on the back of the head that shows the distance of the gap and the injuries. That`s what we want to see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interestingly enough, this raises the whole question as to whether the local police initially did a thorough investigation. And did they collect all of that evidence?

We`ve gotten so many conflicting reports about that. Some people say, "Well, they didn`t take George Zimmerman`s clothing." And then "The Orlando Sentinel" reporting yes, they did.

And as we discuss all this, we`re going to continue to show you the videotape on the other side of the break, and we`re going to take your calls, which are coming in. Hold on. Ryan in New York, we`re going to get to you on the other side.

George Zimmerman`s father jumps to his son`s defense finally. It`s been more than a month since this happened. And tonight we`re comparing his story to the tale of the tapes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FULTON: When we looked at the video, it was obvious that there was no visible injuries. There was no blood on his shirt. So we have concluded just by watching this video that there may not have been any injuries at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOOTING SUSPECT: Hey, Mr. Taaffe. This is George. First and foremost, I wanted to say I am very sorry for the loss of your son and I can`t imagine what you must be going through. Secondly, I wanted to thank you for doing everything you`ve been doing. I know you don`t have to, and I appreciate it, and you`re truly setting an example for me for the future of doing the right thing even when it`s tough. And I appreciate it. I`ll talk to you soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a newly-released voice mail from George Zimmerman, reportedly, to his friend, Frank Taaffe, who is defending him, who apparently had also lost a son in the past.

And we`re going to continue to analyze this video. There you see George Zimmerman getting out of a police vehicle not long after he shot Trayvon Martin.

I want to go out to Wendy Walsh, psychologist and co-host of "The Doctors." You just heard George Zimmerman`s voice, reportedly. Now we`re seeing video of him. Give us an analysis of this person`s personality, if you can. Because some might say that he seems more soft-spoken than we might expect and smaller than we had originally been led to believe in those first videos where he seems so heavy. Now he seems a little more petite.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST/CO-HOST, "THE DOCTORS": You know, Jane, it`s important to remember that most racism is not hatred and anger. It`s fear. And who tends to be most fear based? Softer-spoken smaller stature people who have been told by their parents to beware.

So they grow up in a kind of fear-based culture and join Neighborhood Watch organizations and become almost paranoid in their vigilant watching of potential danger. That`s what people forget about racism, is that the underbelly of it is fear.

So, you know, I saw the video. No one can really know, because it is so far away. But I would have expected to see even some kind of small bandages somewhere, especially if there was blood. I can`t imagine that, if he was bleeding so profusely that it went onto the concrete, that the paramedics would let him go without putting some kind of bandage on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. In fact, he doesn`t look shaken to me. That`s the thing. Now, does somebody look theatrically shaken? No. But...

WALSH: Well, Jane, you`ve got to remember: he could have been in shock. You`ve got to remember: he could have been in shock, too. And I always -- I`m hesitant to ever judge anybody in the moment after a big traumatic event whether he was the victim or the perpetrator in this situation, but he was in shock. So it`s hard to judge people`s behavior in circumstances like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go out to my very special guest, actor Boris Kodjoe. Boris, you worked on the song Chaka Khan put out about this case, a tribute to Trayvon Martin. Let`s listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAKA KHAN, SINGER (singing): Right or wrong, I`m going to live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boris, we have so much information and evidence being leaked and coming in. But fundamentally, does any of that alter the message that you had while making this tape?

BORIS KODJOE, ACTOR: Absolutely not. I think what`s important to remember is what Wendy just said: ignorance, hatred, discriminatory actions, racism, it`s all about fear.

And that`s why we got together. And Chaka Khan and Nia Hill (ph). We wanted to express our outrage about the case. We don`t want to speculate about the case, because we`re not attorneys. We`re not prosecutors.

But we want to make sure that people realize and remember that we have the right, as humans, to live a life without fear. So we went and we recorded all these celebrities saying their name, putting up the hood like this, taking it off and saying, "Fear kills, love heals." Because that`s really the point that`s important to remember.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is not nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. You guys, he`s asleep. Yes. He`s sound asleep.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: This certainly confirmed all of my thoughts that this investigation had been botched from the beginning and that people other than me knew that it was -- supposed to be an arrest made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We certainly can say that authorities seemed to take some unusual steps in this case. Reports claim a narcotics investigator did the initial interview, not a homicide investigator. And it`s standard procedure for an assistant state attorney, i.e., a prosecutor, to go to the police station in a shooting death, but reports claim that didn`t happen either. Why?

Did George Zimmerman get special treatment? And if so, is there some kind of reason? I`ve got to tell you, we`re looking at social media. Some conspiracy theorists are even wondering if this Neighborhood Watch volunteer might have been a police informant.

I have absolutely no idea, but I`ll throw this out to Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress and author of "Redefining Diva." Is there a sense out there that something is not quite right with this investigation and how it was handled?

SHERYL LEE RALPH, ACTRESS/AUTHOR: You know something? I think we all have that feeling that something is not quite right. We all have the feeling that something more could have been done and should have been done.

But I think many times this is a very hurtful and at times hateful conversation that we are having to have as Americans. But as Americans we must remember, no matter what side you are on, vigilantes and vigilantism has always been un-American.

And we also at some point need to stop making punching bags and targets out of our young men, especially our young men of color. They are just as valuable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J.A. Baer (ph), criminal defense attorney, what about these conspiracy theories? Do you see a pattern here? I mean, first we have George Zimmerman`s side of the story, leaked to "The Orlando Sentinel" from police sources.

Now we have this videotape initially leaked to ABC News. Now they had to release it to everybody. But I mean, this is crucial evidence that is slipping out. Do you see a bizarre pattern here?

BAER (PH): You know, the whole -- the whole thing smells bad. And the problem that I have is that when you look at this case, this is really about justifiable use of deadly force. And that`s the key word. Deadly force.

What force did Trayvon use against Mr. Zimmerman that night? We`re going to have to wait and see what the physical evidence is. As you know, Jane, with cases that we`ve worked on and you`ve covered, the evidence and the facts need to speak.

The problem I have, you`re right: no prosecutor on scene. That would happen in any homicide.

And No. 2, if you have a question, give it to a grand jury. A grand jury is here to decide for the people how we should charge an individual. It should have been turned over to the grand jury for a thorough investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Michelle Suskauer, criminal defense attorney, at the end of the day the bottom line is who was the aggressor? Now, George Zimmerman was following this guy, but what if there`s nobody to contradict his claim that Trayvon Martin attacked him?

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, that`s exactly right. And the problem is -- and I agree with you that this was not handled right from the get-go. Did the police screw up in terms of missing crucial pieces of evidence? They probably did.

But the fact of the matter is we only have one witness, and if charges were even filed, would they even be sustained? Would this case be dismissed or be found not guilty by a jury? That`s going to be the big problem here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, on the other side of the break, we`re going to play audiotape of this purported one eyewitness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON`S FAMILY: We have the 911 tape that we hear with our ears. We now have this video that we see with our eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need police, fire, medical?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe both. I`m not sure.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon is the victim of a botched police investigation full of incompetence or intelligent mismanagement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it racially motivated? The answer is absolutely not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stand before you today asking for justice for my son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We demand justice that George Zimmerman is arrested. That he`s prosecuted. That he`s convicted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All the world is talking about this new surveillance video that was originally leaked to a network and then police gave it to everyone. What does it show? There`s George Zimmerman, the man who admits he shot Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed teenager, dead.

The question is does this video back up his story? He claims that he was beaten. That his head was smashed to the concrete ground. So do we see a man who has been beaten up on this surveillance video which was taken not long after he, according to him, responds by shooting Trayvon in self- defense? Was it self-defense or was George Zimmerman the aggressor? What really happened in that crucial one-minute gap after Zimmerman hangs up from 911 and before the other 911 calls from neighbors who heard an altercation come in.

Now, a supposed eyewitness to the shooting has been found. He wouldn`t go on camera but ABC News talked to him from behind a door, purportedly. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy on the bottom was yelling to me, "help, help". I told him to stop and I was calling 911.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Then there is a slew of ear witnesses as we`ve been calling them. There`s Trayvon`s girlfriend who says she was on the phone. Mary Cutcher, somebody who lives in the neighborhood and her roommate Selma Mora and then there`s 13-year-old Austin McLendon who was reportedly standing just 20 feet away.

And I got to tell you people looking at the police report -- people have been mentioning this -- there`s a slew of people who were described as witnesses on the police report. So I got to ask you, Natalie Jackson, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family and we`ll debate this with Michelle Suskauer. Ultimately will it come down to what that one purported eyewitness saw who was on top of whom?

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: Let`s make no mistake about this, Jane. What it will ultimately come down to and what people are so upset about is that you can`t get to that question without an arrest. There is no arrest in this case. There is enough evidence --

MICHELLE SUSKAUER: What are you talking about? Of course you can.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, please.

SUSKAUER: Jane there doesn`t have to be an arrest.

JACKSON: That is a question for the jury, Michelle. A jury decides which witnesses are credible and which ones are not. Not you and I. We were not there. That goes to a jury. It cannot go to a jury without an arrest.

SUSKAUER: That`s right, Natalie. You weren`t there and I wasn`t there, but the fact -- I`m sorry, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess we`re boiling it down to this. Who was the aggressor? Now, we know that George Zimmerman was initially following Trayvon Martin. So in that sense, he was the aggressor. But if -- and this is a big if, if, if -- Zimmerman is claiming Trayvon threw the first punch, does that technically make him the aggressor at least under this "Stand Your Ground" law which I actually pulled up and read which says "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm."

JACKSON: That is the key to this case. The key to this case is that law was meant for an innocent person who is not doing anything that`s being attacked. In this case, we have George Zimmerman pursuing and stalking Trayvon. He is the aggressor. He is doing something that is not right and not lawful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

SUSKAUER: Natalie, I understand what you`re saying but again, it is not unlawful to follow someone.

JACKSON: It`s unlawful to make someone in fear.

SUSKAUER: Wait. No, no. You`re right and that`s an assault.

JACKSON: That`s called an assault.

(CROSSTALK)

SUSKAUER: But in this particular case, what George Zimmerman was doing was not illegal per se. Was it stupid? Was it reckless? Sure.

JACKSON: I disagree.

SUSKAUER: It sounds like he injected himself into this situation. But it was not unlawful. Now the question is --

JACKSON: An assault is unlawful. We have a witness, the phone witness, the girlfriend who was talking to Trayvon that said Trayvon was fearful of this guy who was following him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in, ladies. Ladies -- let me just jump in because you brought up a point. And we actually have Trayvon`s girlfriend. She gave a new interview about what she says she heard on the phone with Trayvon moments before he was shot.

Now listen to Trayvon`s girlfriend from ABC News and then watch what Zimmerman`s father has to say. It`s kind of a point/counterpoint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon said that he looked creepy. He looked like he`s crazy.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, FATHER OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I don`t believe she was on the phone with him. And I find it very strange with the publicity involved in this that all of a sudden after three weeks someone would remember that they were on the phone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s from WOFL. It`s become basically a he said/she said. Zimmerman`s father thinks it`s strange that the girlfriend would suddenly remember she was on the phone. First of all, I have to say, all of that is going to be cleared up. The phone records will determine once and for all who was on the phone at what time.

But Rod Smith, I want to go to you -- you`re a former violent crimes prosecutor. What I find is the bigger controversy is the claim that cops did not interview the family of the dead teenager before they announced that we can`t charge Zimmerman because there is no one to dispute his account of events.

ROD SMITH, FORMER VIOLENT CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, hindsight is 20/20. It seems to me that the biggest mystery to most people is why an arrest wasn`t made that night at the scene. The fact is it appears that for those that were present there were questions as to what had occurred. Typically you don`t start the clock running on yourself and make an arrest if you`re unsure that you should and there`s no chance that you`re going to have a flight problem.

You know, looking back on it, it seems to me that there`s questions about who was interviewed and who should have been interviewed but those are behind us. They`re not -- going back on that is not going to make a difference. What`s going on right now, I assure you, is the prosecuting team is going back from ground zero. They are reconstructing this to make sure that they get it right.

I mean it`s important to get it fast but it`s also important to get it right. With as much scrutiny as this case has now had, with counter- messaging that`s going on from both camps, if you will, the prosecutor has to lock themselves and remember the following.

The only evidence that matters is the evidence that you have and the things that you can prove -- ideas, somebody`s opinion, people`s version of a story doesn`t matter. For a prosecutor it`s simply ok it doesn`t exist if I can`t prove it. So what can I prove? What do I think the counter- message will be here to what I can prove? And I know that`s what`s going on.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go back to -- I want to go back to Boris. You`re an actor who worked with Chaka Khan to put together a fabulous video that was sort of a tribute to Trayvon. If, let`s say there is within maybe the next week, let`s say for example, an arrest and this case goes to trial, do you think that that essentially will assuage those who feel that justice was not done or do we have to postpone that until the outcome of the trial?

BORIS KODJOE, ACTOR: We want to ensure that due process takes place. So once an investigation is put in place, yes, it will put some kind of peace in our hearts. But, we got to remember that this is not the only black teenager that`s being killed. So many black teenagers are being killed and none of these kids deserve to die.

We have to ask ourselves, what can we do to stop the madness? What can we do as parents, as teachers, as so-called village to raise these kids with love in their hearts instead of fear to make this madness go away. I think that`s really the point that we`re trying to -- that we have to ask ourselves because at the root of all of this, there`s still so many people left that are being killed every single day in this country. It`s not just Trayvon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is what I want to talk about is the big picture. I`m very involved in fighting for -- I shouldn`t say fighting -- it`s a bad word to use in this context, but advocating for nonviolence.

Now, how do we do that? During Zimmerman`s 911 call, the dispatcher asked him, is this person you`re following white, black or Hispanic? And that wasn`t the first time that Zimmerman had been asked that question by a 911 dispatcher. Remember, he called 911 46 times in a decade. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH CAPTAIN: I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he white, black or Hispanic?

G. ZIMMERMAN: Black. They`re back in the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do they look like? Are they white, black or Hispanic?

G. ZIMMERMAN: Black males.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to take issue with the police constantly asking people, well, is the person black, white or Hispanic? Over and over and over again.

Does that telegraph subliminal racism? What about all the other people in the world. What about people from the Middle East? What about people who might be from India who don`t -- what about Asians? What about people who don`t those three little boxes?

And in an increasingly -- what about me? What about the fact that we live in an increasingly multicultural, multiracial world where we can`t put the entire planet and everybody on it -- it`s going to be 9 billion people by 2050 -- in three or four tiny boxes. That`s what we`re going to discuss on the other side of the break.

And I want to talk to Wendy Walsh who is the mother of beautiful biracial children about how we need to refocus how we identify people and not always use race as an identifier or what we even consider race that may not be race. It`s ripe for inaccuracy and I think it telegraphs, well, we can judge people on their color which is the root of this problem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. ZIMMERMAN: I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he white, black or Hispanic?

G. ZIMMERMAN: Black. They`re back in the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do they look like? Are they white, black or Hispanic?

G. ZIMMERMAN: Black males.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do we need to start telling law enforcement stop asking people to identify everybody by black, white or Hispanic. I mean is that really even accurate? I`m showing you pictures of Wendy Walsh with her beautiful children.

And Wendy, I think you would be perfect -- you`re a psychiatrist and co-host of "The Doctor" and mother of two beautiful biracial daughters, to talk about do we as a culture need to move beyond identification of race and ethnicity which so often don`t apply to people.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHIATRIST: Absolutely Jane. You know, when you know somebody`s race, you know about as much about them as their shoe size because within every race there`s a wide spectrum of cultural differences. So, even to assume that a Latino person or a black person or a white person has a specific socioeconomic status or has particular way of talking or eating or singing or dancing is craziness. Because the truth is race is -- you know all we know about someone is their eye color or hair color. What does that tell us about their heart and soul?

So the truth is we need to start talking about race in a different way. We need to start talking about the subtleties of culture and we need to start praising the differences in culture.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress and author of "Redefining Diva". In my case, when I go to Egypt, I was an Egypt, they thought I was Egyptian. When I was in Greece, they thought I was Greek. I was in Italy and they thought I was Italian. I went to Spain, they thought I was Spanish. I was in India, they thought I was Indian.

How do you sit there as a 911 dispatch operator asking people, ok, was he black, white or Hispanic? First of all, in my case I always say I`m Puerto Rican and Irish. Hispanic isn`t a race. It`s an ethnicity that covers I don`t know how many dozens of countries. And again, also with the African-American community, how can we take these three or four labels and try to put the entire Planet Earth into these three or four labels. Isn`t that in some sense perpetuating racist thinking?

SHERYL LEE RALPH, ACTRESS: You know something Jane, thank you so much for saying that. But right about now people look at people and think they know what they`re looking at. You look at me; my Scottish grandfather doesn`t show up on me. I look like a black American girl. When I look at Wendy`s beautiful girls, I see black girls.

That is how America works; what is your shade, talks about what your existence is and what people think about you. When Zimmerman saw Trayvon, he saw a black man. He saw a threat. He saw something that he had to chase down and get rid of because obviously "it" was up to no good.

You heard him. They are back in the neighborhood again. That boy lived there and I dare say Trayvon was just as afraid of Zimmerman following him as Zimmerman was in what he thought Trayvon must have been up to. We think a lot of things about people and we don`t see who they really are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boris, I know you`re shaking your head. I want you to have a chance to weigh in.

KODJOE: Yes, I absolutely agree. I think another thing that`s important -- I`m a father. I want to know what I tell my son. What do I tell my young child? What do I tell my son that is walking home at night with a hood on? I told him not to talk to strangers but yet if a stranger approaches him now, I have to tell him to identify himself and not to get shot?

What do I do? What do we tell our kids? We have to encourage each other to talk to our kids, to encourage discussion about this all the time because that`s the only way how we can take the myth away from it and how we can tackle this problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I think we need to educate 911 operators, police around the country to stop always categorizing people by what they perceive as somebody`s race or ethnicity. There are so many other ways to identify people. You could say they`re tall. They`re heavy set. They have x, y, z clothing on. In a car. What`s the make of a car? They`re on a bicycle.

Why is this constant, obsessive emphasis on the color of their skin? This is what I think is something we need to look at.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight we continue to analyze this astounding video that was initially leaked to a news organization. Now we all have it. But why was it leaked in. What does it tell us?

When we come back, we`re going to have our esteemed panel`s final thoughts on what they think will happen next in this case.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former prosecutor Rod Smith, what do you think is going to happen?

SMITH: Well, obviously, I think the next step is either going to be one of two things. You`ll either see an arrest made albeit something less than the murder degrees. Or you`re going to see this matter go to the grand jury. The grand jury, I think, at this point is the most logical option because I think that they`ve taken it so far. My guess is they`re trying to piece everything back together to make a presentation to where everybody gets as many facts in front of them as possible.

We`ve been through this kind of public debate. But in the end it`s going to be about what can you prove actually happened? These are always enormously difficult cases because there`s a limited amount of information. You don`t have a past history between the two people. You have a past history of the two people. But that`s generally not as relevant as we may make it in the public arena.

So I think it will be likely go to the grand jury and I think in all likelihood, you`re going to see several days of testimony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Natalie Jackson, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, what do you think is going to happen?

JACKSON: I am cautiously optimistic that an arrest will be made in this case. There needs to be an arrest made to let these parents know that their child mattered. They had an innocent child who was killed on the street who was walking home with Skittles and an iced tea going home. He was where he was supposed to be. That child mattered and the parents need to hear that from the authorities.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jay Hebert, criminal defense attorney, what do you think is going to happen?

JAY HEBERT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with Rod. The investigation will continue. Bottom line is I think that the special prosecutor out of Duvall County is going to get her homicide committee to review the facts. I think you`re going to see a manslaughter charge come down. I don`t think this is first degree based on the facts they have now and second-degree, I don`t know unless there is a racial issue in play.

I`m not saying there isn`t at this point. Unless that`s there you won`t find a depraved mind for second-degree. So my guess is manslaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress, author of "Redefining Diva", what`s your prediction?

RALPH: I believe that the state of Florida and the powers that be in that state are really taking a look at this law of justifiable homicide. I really believe that they`re going to have to search their hearts, souls and minds as prosecutors, lawmakers, politicians, and say what is right?

What is it when we stand our ground? And are we just going to be able to shoot anybody and make it ok when we`re standing our ground? All of our young boys matter. All of them; no matter what color they are, no matter what they wear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, your prediction.

WALSH: My prediction is the memory of Trayvon Martin will not die and it will not die for a very long time because it has opened up these amazing conversations between parents and teens, between the media, between law enforcement. We`re starting -- it`s another opportunity for us to look at ourselves. And I think this isn`t great consolation for the grieving parents, but Trayvon will not go away, believe me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Suskauer.

SUSKAUER: Well, I think a grand jury probably, probably will return a manslaughter charge. However, his defense lawyer, if he is arrested, is absolutely going to use the defense that we have here in Florida of "Stand Your Ground". The case may get dismissed.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rod Smith, when there is an arrest, you say the clock starts ticking. Explain.

SMITH: Well, Florida, as the constitution requires, Florida has specific rules on speedy trial. So whenever you arrest someone, the clock starts ticking on yourself as a prosecutor. You want to make sure as much as possible that you have all your evidence in place and you know where you`re going with your case right out of the box. Because if you don`t, you`ll be caught still investigating the case, still trying to determine have you made the right charge? If not, do you change course? If you change course, the clock keeps running.

Once an arrest is made, the clock runs. I think that at this point in time, while normally an arrest would have been made that night, I think that at this point you`re going to see caution until they get it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tomorrow, we`re going to ask, could they ever find an impartial jury if George Zimmerman is charged. Join us tomorrow.

"NANCY GRACE" next.

END