CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

New Developments in Trayvon Martin Case

Aired April 2, 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 live from New York City after a weekend of massive protests resulting in arrests.

We are getting very close to a huge development in the Trayvon Martin death investigation. Will the special prosecutor decide to arrest shooter George Zimmerman? And there`s a new feud among the key players. You won`t believe it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, was there a secret meeting between the police chief and the county`s top prosecutor the very night Trayvon Martin was gunned down? Tonight that prosecutor is firing back against these claims.

Plus, emotions run high as the pressure to arrest shooter George Zimmerman mounts. Could the decision come at any time? Tonight, we`re learning what the Neighborhood Watchman volunteer will do if he is charged.

Also, voice analysts weigh in on just who`s yelling for help on the 911 tapes.

And producer and star of the Medea movies Tyler Perry opens up about his own disturbing encounter with cops who didn`t know he was famous in a case he calls racial profiling. Should racial profiling be a hate crime? We`ll take your calls.

Plus, we`ll show you how you can make new friends and join a fun party that could get you on a path to a much healthier lifestyle.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you want it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who screamed on the 911 phone call the night that Trayvon Martin died?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now! He didn`t pull out a gun and shoot him. George showed tremendous restraint.

(CHANTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon everybody liked him. They just want to smear his image.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just know that it is an injustice. There shouldn`t be any place in America where being on a public sidewalk, carrying Skittles and iced tea would warrant anyone to kill you.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: Now! We`re not going to stop until we get justice for Trayvon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want peace!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want peace!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want peace!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, as a decision looms about whether to prosecute the man who gunned down Trayvon Martin, as weekend protests result in more than a dozen arrests.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: For the first time we`re hearing from Trayvon Martin`s older brother. He describes the moment he found out Trayvon had been killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAHVARIS FULTON, BROTHER OF TRAYVON: I didn`t believe it. And I still don`t believe it, which is why it`s not easy for me to talk about it because I just think he`s coming back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now, tonight, accusations that the powers that be held a secret meeting just hours after Trayvon Martin was killed. And a war of wars has just erupted over that stunning allegation.

The attorney for the dead teenager`s family, Benjamin Crump, has accused Florida state attorney Norm traveling in the dead of night to meet with now sidelined police chief Bill Lee.

Crump claims the meeting happened inside the police station -- in private, anyway -- with shooter George Zimmerman`s family in the same station house. Is the Martin family attorney implying there was some sort of conspiracy to let George Zimmerman walk free?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: This can go on and on. What we want is an arrest of George Zimmerman today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Martins` lawyer claims that the state attorney and police chief then, quote, "overruled the lead homicide detective," who said George Zimmerman should be charged.

Tonight, that state attorney, Norm Wolfinger, is firing back, saying he is outraged by the Martin family attorney`s, quote, "outright lies" and insists no such meeting or communication occurred.

That top prosecutor is demanding, quote, "Those spreading the irresponsible rhetoric to stop." What on earth is going on here? Are we sliding into a vortex of dangerous feuding as the nation waits for the special prosecutor to announce her highly anticipated ruling? Will she charge George Zimmerman?

Tonight, a slew of fast-breaking developments. am taking your calls on all of this. What do you think is going on: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

Straight out to veteran TV journalist Rolonda Watts, what do you think is going on here?

ROLONDA WATTS, VETERAN TV JOURNALIST: I think again in this case, we have more questions than we have answers and much less solutions.

Once again, I believe that there`s information being leaked out to divert the whole attention, to distract to the facts here, that they don`t have a case.

And, you know, this also lends to the questions of how connected is the Zimmerman family? Is this connection -- is that why Zimmerman is still walking free, a man who shot and killed a kid in cold blood? Is it the connection that we`re finding out about or is it just another distraction? Once again, more questions than answers, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say -- and I`ll go to Michelle Suskauer, criminal defense attorney out of West Palm Beach, on this, it is interesting that the state attorney, Wolfinger, did recuse himself from the case in late March, saying it was to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, and that was within a couple of hours of the police chief also stepping aside, albeit temporarily.

Why would there be a conflict of interest for Wolfinger as the state attorney? Do you think it`s an odd coincidence that he stepped aside?

Yes, go ahead.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do. I do think that is very strange. What is interesting, Jane, is if these two actually met at the police department, almost every room in the police department has a camera in it. And they`re all taped.

So if there actually was a meeting, if this actually even happened, which we do not know if it did or not -- Wolfinger is saying it did not happen -- there may be actually video evidence of them meeting if, in fact, they did. I`d like to see that. And there may be a public information request for that videotape if, in fact, it exists.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to go to Matt Zaffino (ph), defense attorney. You`ve been studying this. What is your analysis of this? To me, do you know what I say? I say we`re all on pins and needles. Every day, I say as a journalist. I come in, I say wow, is there going to be a charge today?

And it reminds me of when I`m on a verdict watch in a high-profile case and people get antsier and antsier, and tempers get shorter. And it`s like that. What is your thought?

MATT ZAFFINO (ph), DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, this is like a political hot potato, OK? Everyone would agree that the case was botched from the beginning. And I think the state attorney understood that. He knew this. And he wanted to recuse himself. He saw that there`s a conflict of interest, that he was involved from the beginning. And that`s really what`s happening here, and that`s why I think there`s this tension between the state attorney general and the state -- and the police.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The state attorney and -- actually, it`s tension between the state attorney and the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. Marc Lamont Hill, what do you make of it? Because this kind of feuding, where a top prosecutor in the area is saying essentially to an attorney, "You lied"...

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... it`s just bizarre, and it doesn`t happen very often.

HILL: It doesn`t happen very often. And cases like this don`t happen very often. This whole thing smells bad and has smelled bad from the beginning. This latest war of words and letters only shows more that there`s deep impropriety here. I think that a meeting did happen. And the response that a meeting didn`t happen was very particular. It was very nuanced. He didn`t say no meeting happened. He said no such meeting happened, meaning that perhaps there was a back-door meeting, just not the one that they described.

I think it`s a war or words. I think there`s something going on very sneaky here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I will say that there is a general sense -- and I`m really doing my best to be objective, just get the facts in and let that fall where they may. But it just wasn`t handled in a traditional way. There`s just something that feels a little off about this whole situation of what happened that night. But I can`t put my finger on it in terms of what might have happened at that station house.

Now, tonight we`re -- speaking of the station house, we`re getting a closer look at George Zimmerman`s head injury. After the video of him being brought to the police station, enhanced by ABC News with the help of an outside service, look at this. Does that look like something severe enough to need medical attention?

And honestly, I`m not saying this to be flip. It could be a laceration, but in all honesty, it could be a bald spot. And that is the problem with a lot of this evidence, is that the evidence that the public and we, as journalists, are privy to is murky and fuzzy, as opposed to sharp and clear.

And I`m going to throw it out to Frank Taaffe, George`s neighbor and you`re his defender, one of the few. What do you make of this enhanced video that shows something in the back of his head, but who knows what?

FRANK TAAFFE, GEORGE`S NEIGHBOR: Hi, Jane. Thanks for having me back on your show.

The enhanced video clearly shows the injuries that George claims he had or that the police officers notated, that it clearly shows a hematoma and also lacerations to the back of the head that are consistent with the claim of self-defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Marc Lamont Hill, you`re shaking your head. So let`s do a double box. You guys can talk about it.

HILL: A couple of things here. One, there`s nothing clear about that video on either side. It`s a grainy video. And even with the close up, there`s nothing close to a clear...

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: There`s nothing close to a clear clarity there with regard to whether it`s a laceration.

And second, even if there is a laceration, it`s certainly not consistent with the claims that we heard last week, which is that Trayvon was banging George Zimmerman`s head against the curb for 60 full seconds. That is not injury consistent with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You, sir.

TAAFFE: Once again, we have to remember that first aid was administered to Mr. Zimmerman at that site. The police -- Sanford police enforced the three "C`s": care, control, and custody.

And that`s the reason why he doesn`t have a bloody head or a bashed-in nose that`s so graphic that you guys want to see. He was cleaned up at the site. You know, I don`t know if you wanted to see Rocky in the 12th round with his nose just bleeding to help you really bring this together so you can embrace it.

I really don`t know other than what I saw with my 55-year-old eyes. It was clear to me on the enhanced video that Matt Gutman (ph) had on ABC that was clear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re looking at it right now. Matt -- Marc, your response?

HILL: I`m looking -- I`m looking at the video right now again, and there`s nothing clear about this. Like you said, is it possible that there`s something there? Yes. But it`s far from clear. Perhaps he was cleaned up.

TAAFFE: Sir, if you look at...

HILL: Let me just...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let him finish.

HILL: Let me finish the thought. Perhaps he was cleaned up by police at the scene. If there were serious injuries, it`s hard to imagine...

TAAFFE: Perhaps he was cleaned up at the scene? It`s a fact. It`s in the report. There`s no conjecture here. Why are you hypothesizing?

HILL: The only thing I`m conjecturing about is whether you will let me finish.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, police report that he was given first aid.

HILL: I don`t doubt that he was given first aid at the scene. I don`t...

TAAFFE: Maybe? He didn`t maybe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s not -- let`s not pick nits.

HILL: Here`s my point. My point is that, if he had an injury that did not require MET attention, and injury that didn`t require an ambulance to come, it suggests -- and he didn`t walk into the police station with a huge bandage on his head, that suggests that perhaps he didn`t have a huge injury. The fact that he wasn`t stumbling into walls and falling on his face.

TAAFFE: How huge do you want to see it to believe that his head was...

HILL: Bigger than that.

TAAFFE: How much more do you want to see?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I think we`ve debated this one photograph enough.

TAAFFE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Jawn Murray, you`re a pop culture expert. You see so many stories come down the pike. Part of the problem here is that it`s like "Rashomon." Everyone has seen this same exact photo and coming up with completely different interpretations. The same thing for the audience.

JAWN MURRAY, POP CULTURE EXPERT: Look, I`m with Marc here. I`d rather see him look like Rocky in the 12th round, Frank. To me, a kid is dead.

(CROSSTALK)

MURRAY: It doesn`t look like a struggle -- it doesn`t look like, that there was some conflict there. I mean...

TAAFFE: Would you be satisfied...

MURRAY: ... if everything is how he said it was, I want him to look like the result of a struggle. Somebody is dead. There should have been a fight. There should be more blood.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Everybody, we`re just getting started. It`s emotional. We are having an open dialogue. Dialectic arguments and counter arguments to hopefully reach a higher understanding of the subject matter. It`s an important subject.

Everyone seems to have a personal connection to this story. Tyler Perry is talking about his experience with racial profiling. A couple of cops who had no idea he was very famous. Does this case remind you of something you`ve experienced? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

Back in a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: We just want the public to know that he was a regular teenager, that he was respectable, and he was loved by his family and his friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see an arrest immediately. I think if we saw an arrest we would see some movement or justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I don`t know what`s going on. They are screaming.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know his voice. It sounds just like my voice. He`s my brother. That`s what I sound like if I yell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s George Zimmerman`s brother. The question, again, murky. Who is the voice screaming for help on the 911 call? Is it George Zimmerman, or is it, as Trayvon Martin`s family claims, Trayvon?

And to try to determine that, two audio analysts have now compared George Zimmerman`s recorded voice from his 911 calls to the screams for help heard on a 911 call. And here`s one of those experts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re comparing Zimmerman versus the screams, then we`re getting a likelihood ratio of 48 percent. Those low numbers get translated as it`s very unlikely that it is the same person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Forty-eight percent is not decisive. So audio analysts are now getting a recording of Trayvon`s voice to compare to the 911 call, the screams on that call.

Of course, Richard Kuritz, former special prosecutor, the parents we know say they know it`s their son screaming for help. Again, the murkiness. One piece of evidence, two totally different interpretations. How are prosecutors, the special prosecutor investigating this case, how is she going to sort that out?

RICHARD KURITZ, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it`s obviously going to be very difficult, because you don`t have a sample of the victim`s voice to be able to go compare it to. So all you can do is use a comparison of what you`ve heard on Zimmerman`s.

And any time anybody gets in a struggle, you`re going to hear a clear differentiation in their voice. How I talk to you now versus how I talk if I`m being attacked are going to be totally different.

So the only thing she could do is perhaps do a voice analysis and actually do a requirement where a judge requires him to give a voice statement so that he can be compared later.

I don`t think this case is going to turn on the voice analysis. While I understand that everybody is going there, there`s just not going to be enough scientific evidence in this case for Angela Corey and her team to decide, can they prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt? I don`t put that much weight into that aspect of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when you consider "stand your ground," this controversial Florida law that says you have the right to shoot to kill if you`re in fear for your life, I actually think that that audio recording is going to be absolutely crucial. And we`re going to analyze that and more. New evidence on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy`s home.

(DOG BARKING AND PANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOURE, MUSIC JOURNALIST: These are things that hurt, as an American, very deeply, and you are too new to this situation to fully understand what`s really going on here and what`s really at stake for America.

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN`S "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": What a load of fatuous nonsense. You think you have the only right to speak about what`s serious in America? Do you think I don`t have a right as somebody from Britain who`s spent the last six or seven years here, to address a story like this? Because...

TOURE: Six whole years. You have the right. You have the right. But you don`t fully understand what`s going on here.

MORGAN: What don`t I -- what don`t I understand?

TOURE: Six whole years in America allows you to speak about our most difficult and painful moments, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was an extremely heated exchange between Piers Morgan and his guest Toure, and Toure has since apologized. It does show you just how emotional this issue has become across the nation. Everybody with an opinion.

And my personal opinion is the longer we wait for an announcement about this case, the more charged it`s becoming. I liken it to the stress of being on verdict watch in a high-profile case. And I`ve been on many of those verdict watches, and every day I get increasingly nervous and agitated. And a lot of people feel the increasing strain while waiting for a very momentous decision.

Marc Lamont Hill, what does it say about our culture, because as we wait and argue, a lot of people are saying things that are in a way judgments on other people based on the color of their skin, their nationality, their ethnicity, where they were born, et cetera.

HILL: Well, I think you`re right. People are on edge for sure. They`re looking for justice. And when people get in this type of situation, they get tribalistic. They start to get anxieties, and they start to go to their respective corners and start pointing fingers at the other side.

There are legitimate concerns that we should have about different races, about different institutions, like the police when we talk about stuff like this. It can`t become a thing where Brits are all like that, whites are all like that, or police are all like that. We can have principled critique, but we can`t let it degenerate into what is determined that debate the other night because then everybody loses and we take the focus off of Trayvon, which is the one thing that Piers and Toure didn`t talk enough about that night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I couldn`t agree with you more. I don`t want to see this dialogue, which I think is very important for America to have and very healthy, degenerate into name calling. That wouldn`t be good.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Vinnie in Florida. Your question or thought, Vinnie? Oh, I`m hearing myself. Go ahead. Vivian?

CALLER: The "Orlando Sentinel" did, they made some tests and they concluded that the voice wasn`t Zimmerman`s?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there is this debate over whether or not that was Zimmerman`s voice. They did a voice analysis and they said that it`s murky. I think by 48 percent. They said that was not Zimmerman or was Zimmerman, but bottom line, 50/50. So that`s the problem.

Michelle Suskaeur, criminal defense attorney, will they be able to use that voice analysis in a court of law?

SUSKAUER: You know, I don`t know whether they are or not. Because it has to pass what we have down here, called the Fry Test. And whether that`s going to be scientifically reliable.

But you know, Jane, this special prosecutor is going to be taking all of this. And she`s not going to look at this as to the way this case may affect the nation in the big picture. She has to look and see whether she can prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is not a slam dunk for the state attorney`s office.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not because of the "stand your ground" law. We`re going to analyze that on the other side. More calls.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(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. We`re going through a process to make sure that we know the facts and whatever happens, the right thing will happen and justice will prevail.

CROWD: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came down to a life or death struggle between the two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been over a month with no arrest, no apprehending of his gun, no apprehending of him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice --

CROWD: No peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice --

CROWD: No peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to see an arrest immediately. I think if we saw an arrest we would see some movement or justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight a war of words: attorney, Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Martin family, alleges a secret meeting on the night Trayvon was shot dead. State attorney Norm Wolfinger denies this took place.

But listen to what Benjamin Crump wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice -- we just got it moments ago. Within hours of the shooting, the chief of police, Bill Lee met with state attorney, Norm Wolfinger; not only that, but family members of shooter George Zimmerman were present. And this conspiracy allegation continues.

Crump says Norm Wolfinger and Chief Bill Lee overruled the recommendation that George Michael Zimmerman be arrested for manslaughter. But Wolfinger is firing back tonight saying, "I am outraged by the outright lies contained in this letter by Benjamin Crump. I encourage the Justice Department to investigate and document that no such meeting or communication occurred."

And I have been encouraging those spreading the irresponsible rhetoric to stop and allow state attorney, special prosecutor, Angela Corey to complete her work.

So, Frank Taaffe, you`re George Zimmerman`s neighbor, one his few defenders, what do you make of this back and forth? Do you think there might have been a secret meeting?

FRANK TAAFFE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S NEIGHBOR: Absolutely not. Between Chief Lee and state attorney, Mr. Wolfinger, you have over 60 years of experience.

Jane, I want to back up to Florida statutes for jurist doctorates that are on our illustrious panel. Florida statute 776.014 states, "If the aggressor fights to get your firearm, you have the right to use deadly force." In my opinion the aggressor was Trayvon Martin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re talking about -- you`re talking about the "Stand Your Ground" law and this is the problem with the "Stand Your Ground" law. I mean the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, talked about what a flawed law this was just today, saying that the problem with this law is that you can`t read what`s in a person`s mind.

So if you`ve got a law that says -- and I`ll throw this out to Rolonda Watts -- if you`ve got a law that says in your mind if you feel that your life is threatened, you can shoot, then how are you going prove that an individual was not in fear? This puts the burden of proof not on the shooter but on the state to somehow get inside George Zimmerman`s mind and prove that he was not in fear of his life. There are those who say this is a very messed up law, Rolonda.

ROLONDA WATTS, TV PERSONALITY: Well, it`s very difficult to get into somebody else`s mind and determine someone else`s level of fear. That is going to have to come from evidence and if you look at the clothes, the nice neighbor who is such a big fan of Zimmerman says, you know, that they gave him all the Cs, the care, they must have given him clothes, too because I don`t see any blood on that shirt.

TAAFFE: The gunshot was of a close range.

WATTS: You know -- if he --

TAAFFE: The "Orlando Sentinel" --

(CROSSTALK)

WATTS: If they are in a situation --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. One at a time, guys. One at a time.

WATTS: If he is in a situation where he believes, Zimmerman`s believes his life is threatened, the adrenaline is going, it`s the heat of the moment, there is blood pumping everywhere. He breaks his nose, he hits his head -- that is blood gushing everywhere. Where was it cleaned up? Did they give him new clothes as part of your list of Cs? Is that what they did as well?

What did they do to --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You`ve made your point now.

TAAFFE: Clothes.

WATTS: That`s what`s curious to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank --

(CROSSTALK)

TAAFFE: Is that what it`s come down to? Clothes? What do you want to see, torn, tattered clothes? Do you see --

WATTS: You see the -- look, you see the clothes, you see the nose. I don`t see any evidence of a fight to say somebody is trying to -- that somebody was in a life-threatening situation.

TAAFFE: Were you there? Were you the attending EMT?

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Now, neither one of you were there --

TAAFFE: I don`t think so.

WATTS: And neither were you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got to chill out for a second. I want to get back to the "Stand Your Ground" because if charged, George Zimmerman is expected to use this very controversial "Stand Your Ground" law which essentially says you could shoot somebody if you`re in fear for your life.

Listen to what former president, Bill Clinton told ABC News about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The law is going to create real problems. I hope this will lead to a re-appraisal of "Stand Your Ground" laws and I hope that the truth will come out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, it was the former president who said, quote, "It`s going to be almost impossible to prove what was in someone`s mind when a certain happened", end quote.

So Michelle Suskauer, you`re a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, you`ve dealt with this.

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This Florida law flip-flops the burden of proof by allowing basically anybody to claim, "Oh, I was in fear".

SUSKAUER: But you know what, Jane, the way -- and I`ve defended people where the law has gone in both different directions. First of all, where has everybody been when this law passed back when Jeb Bush was governor of the state? I mean, there wasn`t an outcry and now suddenly this is suddenly a bad law? This has been a bad law from the get-go but we have a very, very strong gun lobby and it passed.

But these cases are looked at -- it`s not -- it`s on a very case by case basis, individually. So it`s not just this blanket rule. Each individual state attorney`s office has to look and see whether they feel that they are going to be able to file charges or not. So even if they file charges against George Zimmerman in this case, he can still try to assert this defense. It may or may not work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christina, Georgia, your question or thought, Christina?

CHRISTINA, GEORGIA (via telephone): Yes. Hi, Jane. I`m the mom of five boys, one of which is 19, driving age, drives a lot. I see him unfortunately being pulled over almost every other day seems like lately, for things like passing the fog line or wearing his seat belt under his arm incorrectly, or nothing at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you feel he`s being profiled? Do you feel he`s being profiled for a particular reason?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my children are bi-racial and you know, he has a car, he`s got a (inaudible). He wears his clothes in a particular style. My son has never been arrested, he doesn`t have a record.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christina, I`m going to jump in here because this case has touched a chord with millions of Americans including stars. Get this, producer, director, actor, Tyler Perry took to Facebook to tell his story of racial profiling. He says he was pulled over in Atlanta recently and he normally has a security escort because he`s famous and he`s been followed in the past. This time he did not.

Here`s part of what he wrote. "There was another officer standing on the passenger side of the car. He said, `What`s wrong with you?` The other officer said to him, `He thinks he`s being followed.` It was so hostile, I was so confused." Now, apparently these two cops did not know he was a famous guy.

Another officer, an African-American officer pulls up and he had that, "oh no," look on his face and immediately took both officers to the back of the car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. So in other words they figured out that Tyler Perry was Tyler Perry.

Jawn Murray, entertainment journalist and pop culture expert, stories like this are popping up all over the place -- famous African-Americans.

JAWN MURRAY, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST, POP CULTURE EXPERT: I too, Jane, have experienced it. I know Marc Lamont Hill has experienced it. Jane, here`s my concern. If an arrest is not made soon, we`re going to see more reckless celebrity behavior like what Spike Lee did tweeting the wrong address. We`re going to see people who want to take the law into their own hands, like Zimmerman did, and they are going to be seeking some type of revenge.

The civil leaders, the African-American leaders have done a good job keeping people calm this far but if justice does not appear to be on the horizon soon, I don`t think people can keep themselves contained much longer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think it`s important for everybody to remain absolutely calm. I do believe this is a very healthy discussion for America. This is a sick, toxic secret of America.

And I say in recovery and I`m now 17 years sober. I made it to April 1st, people -- 17 years sober. You`re only as sick as your secrets. This is America`s dirty little secret. We`re talking about it -- that`s good. But if we go from talk to something more than that, something ugly, then it crosses a line and it`s no longer something of positive value to our culture.

So think -- yes, we are all it waiting. There`s a bunch of possible charges George Zimmerman could face. Let`s go through them right now. He could be charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole or even death if prosecutors decided to pursue the death penalty.

Or he could get second-degree murder with a firearm and he could get up to life for that.

Another possibility, manslaughter with a firearm -- that carries, 30 years max.

Aggravated battery with a firearm, 25-year mandatory minimum.

And then we can`t forget -- just putting out all the options -- there is a chance Zimmerman won`t be charged at all.

And then of course, they can take this hot potato and toss it to the grand jury and see what happens there. Richard Kuritz, former special prosecutor, what do you think is going to happen and when?

RICHARD KURITZ, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, knowing this prosecution team, what they`re doing is they are taking their time. They are not going to worry about the media hype on this. They`re not going to worry about the rallies.

What they`re going to do is they are going to try to determine, can they prove this case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. What they`re doing is what I would be doing which is I want to look at the forensic evidence. I don`t really care that much about -- I do care -- but I`m going to weigh all of the different opinions on different testimony but I want to know what the ballistics show. What the ballistics show if that was going to match up -- was this a close wrapped up or not.

I think Angela Corey is going to take her time. She`ll make the right decision. My bet, second-degree murder arrest before the grand jury comes out or if it`s a close call, they will go to a grand jury and will let the citizens of Florida decide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if it boils down to forensics, we`re going to keep talking about that. Because the forensics that we have seen thus far, well they`re open to debate. Everybody is arguing over what their significance is.

Demands for an arrest escalate in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. We`re taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Join us on the other side of the break. More.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JAHVARIS FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S BROTHER: I was listening to Zimmerman`s father speak up today and he said something like my brother was on top of his son and said, "You`re going to die tonight." That doesn`t sound like my brother at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The women of "The View" dug into the Trayvon Martin shooting, zeroing in on once again what we`re talking about -- Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": This is a very dicey law.

One feels that there should be some action.

(CROSSTALK)

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST "THE VIEW": None of this justifies the shooting of this man, this young boy. It`s blaming the victim and I just - - you know for me it`s like, I want everybody to take a step back to stop for a minute before you send out a tweet with somebody`s address. I want people to stop before they make bad decisions that compound an issue, and take it away from the fact that a 17-year-old boy was shot by a vigilante.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Matt Semino, defense attorney, Huff Po contributor, has Florida essentially legalized vigilantism?

MATT SEMINO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they have. And this law is a slippery slope -- it`s an unjustified license to kill, Jane. And you know, yes, I can understand the self-defense claim. But here we have people taking the law into their own hands. As we see in this case, walking around with guns, taking the law into their own hands and then we have this tremendous tragedy which has sparked this national debate, not only on this law but about racial profiling and institutionalized racism.

And this is all stemming from the "Stand Your Ground" law in this particular incident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I`ve talked about institutionalized racism for a long time with what I call the prison industrial complex, which I talk about in my book "Addict Nation", that locking up people, disproportionately minorities, has become a big business. We`ve got more than 2 million people right now, the size of the city of Houston locked up behind bars, many of them on nonviolent crimes, drug offenses when the fact is that the vast majority of drug addicts in this country are middle class, Caucasian people who are using prescription drugs.

SEMINO: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think we need a wholesale change, Marc Lamont Hill, in how we take a look at our criminal justice system in America? And I say this for everybody`s sake. It`s the taxpayers of America that are subsidizing the prison industrial complex that is a $60-billion a year business. If we took those $60 billion and put it into something positive, like training teenagers --

SEMINO: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- for jobs.

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Or drug treatment for people who are drug addicts, right? We`ve essentially decided to criminalize rather than invest medically or invest socially and when you do that it leads to mass incarceration. That`s what we see today.

So to answer your question, what we should do is re-imagine a criminal justice system in ways that account for what we really as a nation. Those dirty little secrets that you alluded to earlier, so that we don`t have this myth of color-blindness in the law, so we don`t have this myth that the law protects everyone equally.

If we understand, for example, the differential sentencing for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, leaves the poor, small-time, black drug users in prison and middle class people getting slapped on the wrist, then we can come to terms with some stuff.

Those are the types of changes that we need. If we can respond to drug abuse through medical attention rather than just criminalizing everything, we could do that. And lastly with the "Stand Your Ground", if we understood that now we are giving people the power to determine who and what represents imminent danger based on their own psyches, and know imminent danger with a weapon, that means that we allow people like George Zimmerman, who may smuggle in racial bias, unintentionally but smuggle in racial bias now have the power and the legal charge to kill folks.

We have to change the law and the criminal justice system in a way that allows us to be different.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We need a wholesale re-examination of our justice system and it`s for everybody`s benefit. I just finished the Steve Jobs` book where he had to move, he said, his factories to China because they couldn`t get 30,000 engineers. Well, the Chinese engineers are people who come from the countryside. There`s no reason why our inner city kids couldn`t be trained to be those very engineers.

But the only problem is, we don`t have the money. Why -- because we are spending so much money locking up teenagers. How crazy is that? Wouldn`t it be wonderful to turn the system around so that we take the money that we used to punish and instead use it to create futures for young people? It`s possible.

And that`s why I hope that Trayvon Martin has not died in vain. I hope this dialogue leads to a wholesale re-examination of our prison industrial complex.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More in a moment. But, first I think we all deserve is a little bit of a laugh break.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jaden, look at this mess. Did you do that? Did you make this mess? Jaden, did you make this mess?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of my very favorite activities is going to the vegetarian vegan meet-up group. Take a look at this, people. Are you guys having fun?

This is a party. And, I have to tell you, it`s a healthy party pact. We are a case joint in the East Village. Take a look at this. People are streaming in to order healthy vegan food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love meeting people. I love organizing parties. I love going out and having fun and this is a way to mix everything together plus promote veganism and vegetarianism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to meet people that were like me that were really focused on eating healthy and, you know, enjoy the fabulous restaurants in the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks just like hamburger and French fries American style but it`s compassionate style. It`s amazing. I mean, the organizer, David, is an extraordinary human being. There are over 3,000 members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The group has grown tremendously over the past two years. A lot more people are becoming interested in vegetarianism and veganism.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re not a vegan, you`re saying, hey, I`m interested in trying a vegan meal and I`m just going to come to this vegan meet-up and check it out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that`s what I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are some people here who are vegetarian but there are (inaudible) looking to learn more about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to have one day a week with no meat and try it that way and then phase myself into it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As I`m actually getting used to being mostly vegan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s also been like a personal journey, experience the journey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a vegan, myself, I know you have to have community. You`ve got to have somebody that you can relate to and relates to you and understands you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of us have friends who are vegetarian, so it`s nice to come and meet a group of people that are kind of on the same page.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a ton of fun. It`s actually my first meet- up here in New York City. I just moved from Chicago and this is my first one, and it`s fantastic. I met a great group of people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And veganism often runs in families. I`m a vegan and my nephew, Paul, also known as Pablito, is also a vegan. And you actually are the one who got me involved in this vegan meet-up group.

PAUL: Yes, well, I`ve been trying to get you to come for, I guess, about six months now and then at some of the family functions I would stop Jane and get her to get her iPhone out and get to the meet-up app and commit. And so we finally got her down about two weeks ago and she fell in love with it.

Everybody here is here for the same reason. It`s all vegan and vegetarian, all for the animals, and you walk in the room with a bunch of like-minded people. This is a great feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I`m generally interested in just meeting people of similar, like minds, to share and talk about animal welfare topics.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he`s cute, too, and single. Are you meeting girls?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve met a lot of women here tonight, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think there`s a little vegan flirtation going on at this table. It`s good, too.

How did you enjoy as a restaurant owner being part of the vegan vegetarian meet-up group?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really exciting. You would think like a big group like this they would be demanding, but they`re all just very mellow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now it`s my turn to chow down. Come here. Check this out. Nachos. They look delicious. Right, no meat or dairy. Good old-fashioned burger, right? No meat or dairy whatsoever. All right, come on. Let`s chow down.

Yum, yum, yum. This is good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So if you`re interested in the vegan lifestyle or you just want to learn more and meet some fun, new people, go to vegan.meetup.com to find a group in your area. I`m telling you it is a lot of fun. It`s a big party and you`re going to be invited to more of my party on the other side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cheers to a fabulous vegan vegetarian meet-up group. Hey, guys, are you having fun? Everybody having fun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I went to nursing school we had very limited education about holistic food, organic food, plant-based diet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell people every day that there`s a lot of evidence now showing that eating a lot of animal protein is not good for you, so we should think about that in terms of our health.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, remember, he`s a doctor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that vegetarian and veganism is an exploding trend across the country. There are thousands and thousands of meet ups in the United States alone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you don`t have to live in New York to be part of a vegetarian vegan meet-up group, you can do it anywhere in your country. If there isn`t one in your neighborhood, you can start one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So do to vegan.meetup.com and find an event near you. It is a party, an adventure worth having.

Nancy is next.

END