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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  July 18, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT

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important, because it will be the future. tonight, a mother and father who lost a son. at the end of the day, the parents of trayvon martin, it is just that simple and just that sad. a jury's decision may add to the burden, a country taking up a vital debate in their son's name may ease it a little. none of it changes the ache of absence that won't go away, the ache that all parents feel after losing a child. few people see their child described as a predator or adopted as a martyr or have so many people define him to fit their agenda. tonight, as we talk about the death of trayvon martin, we don't want to lose sight of the fact that a mother and father have lost a son. joining me now is the sabrina
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fulton, tracy martin and attorney benjamin crump. >> how are you olding up? >> it's very difficult. >> tracy, for you? >> it's tough. we're trying to stay strong. we understand we have to stay strong for each other, our families and we continue to take it one day at a time. >> you were there in the trial every day, and at times you had to leave because some of the testimony was too hard to hear. but were there days where you just thought, i can't go there today? or i can't do this? >> no, i never thought that. every morning i got up with trayvon in mind, and i said i have to do this. i have to go. i have to just withstand just the trial process. so i made myself go. it was no doubt in my mind that i needed to be there. there were times not necessarily the testimony but a lot more the pictures for me, the 911 call
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where it just seemed so final. the pictures that the medical examiners, the pictures of the site, those things were more hurtful to me. and sometimes i could sit through it and at times i just needed to just go by myself and just say a prayer and ask god to strengthen me, because it was very difficult. >> what did you -- what did you hope the message of you both being there for your son during that trial, did you hope that it would send a message to the jury? did you hope that it would send a message to all those who were watching? >> the most important purpose was to give trayvon a voice, because he's not here to say anything for himself. so we thought in our minds that we needed to be there to represent him, to show a face with trayvon martin's name,
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okay, these are the parents and this is the family. these are the attorneys. so we just felt that it was important that we be there just to represent him. >> and were there times sitting there hearing other people talk about your son, where they were friends of your son or people who didn't know him or people for the defense, were there times where you just thought, i don't know who they're talking about? that's not my son? >> definitely. it was a lot of times during the court proceedings that we said to ourselves that that wasn't the trayvon that we raised. that wasn't the trayvon that we knew and loved. we felt as though they were just mischaracterizing him and we know that wasn't the trayvon that we raised. >> were there -- to be in a courtroom with the man who killed your son, did he ever say anything to you or look at you or was there ever any kind of eye contact, exchange?
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>> never. we refrained from each looking his way. we didn't want our emotions to run high, because we knew that our son's legacy was lying -- is lying in our hands. we are the face of trayvon. the jury -- that courtroom, we needed to be in the courtroom to let the court see that we were trayvon. he wasn't there to defend himself, to tell his side of the story. we couldn't tell his story, but we wanted to assure them that we were there 110% for him. >> when i talked to daryl parks one day, one of your attorneys, he said that you all had talked ahead of time about not being there the day the verdict came down. why did you not want to be there that day, and how did you actually hear about the verdict? >> we didn't want to be there because we were told by the
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court system that there were -- you couldn't do any outbursts. you couldn't say anything. you couldn't have any reaction. and we thought that was going to be pretty difficult for us either way. through our attorney's advice, they told us, they suggested to us that we not be there, and we kind of weighed both sides and said maybe this is not a good thing for us to be there, because either way, how could you be quiet? how could you not say anything? how could you not show any emotions? so i think by us not being there, it took the sting out of people seeing us react to it. because it literally broke us down. >> when you heard the verdict on television, you broke down? >> yes, yes. >> how could you not, i guess. did it come as a total shock? i mean, there were some legal analysts watching the trial that felt the prosecution wasn't
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presenting the case like some of the analysts wanted to present it or felt they could have presented it. did it come as a complete shock? >> it came as a complete shock for me. the reason i say that is i look at people as people, and i thought for sure that the jury looked at trayvon as an average teenager that was minding his own business, that wasn't committing any crime. that was coming home from the store and were feet away from where he was actually going. i just believe that they realized that, but when i heard the verdict i kind of understand the disconnect and that maybe they didn't see trayvon as their son. they didn't see trayvon as a teenager. they didn't see trayvon as just a human being that was minding his own business. >> when it was six women selected, most of them -- nearly
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all of them mothers, you felt the fact that they are mothers, they might understand some of your pain, they might understand what it's like to have a son, is that what you're saying? >> i just looked at them as people. i'm not particularly saying that because they were mothers i assumed that they would say he was guilty. but i just thought the human side of them, the human side of them would say, listen, this was a kid. this guy made a mistake. this wasn't a burglar. and just for them to suggest that he was a burglar or that by any means he was committing any crime, it's just not true. it's absolutely not true. >> when mark geragos, one of our legal analysts, he said when the jury was selected, he felt the trial was over then because of the makeup of the jury. did you have any concerns, tracy, about the makeup of the
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jury, six -- no african-americans on the jury, there have been studies in florida, one study from 2000 to 2010 that all-white juries convict black defendants 16% more off than a white defendant. and if there's just one african-american on that jury, it's about equal then, that discrepancy goes down. did you have any concerns along those lines? >> i didn't have any concerns about it, because we thought that there was enough evidence there, no matter who was on that jury, to convict him of second degree murder. when you think about it, i think that they just took into account what george zimmerman said was the truth. trayvon wasn't here to tell his story, but the mindset of that juror, they -- some of them had
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their minds made up no matter what story was told. >> ben? >> we've always said this was going to be a litmus test how far we had come in equal justice, because you want to believe no matter who is on a jury, that the victim, whoever they may be, can get a fair trial. and we were hoping for that. but as mr. martin was alluding to, they never saw trayvon's perspective. when you listen to the person you interviewed, they always looked at it from the adult perspective. they never looked at it from a child's perspective, trying to get home running, with the objective evidence. and that trayvon was defending his life. he went to his grave not knowing who this creepy strange man was. >> we got to take a quick break. when we come back, i want to talk more about what the jury perceived. i interviewed juror b37.
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we're going to play a few of the thing lgs she said and have you respond to them. we'll be right back. i want to make things more secure. [ whirring ] [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art. [ male announcer ] from broadband to web hosting to mobile apps, small business solutions from at&t have the security you need to get you there. call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better. ♪
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of george zimmerman from the trial but only a hazy one of trayvon martin. listen. you call george zimmerman george, do you feel like you know him? >> i do. i feel like i know everybody. >> you called trayvon, trayvon. >> i did. trayvon wasn't as well-known by us because there wasn't as much said about him. all we really heard about trayvon was the phone call that he had and the evidence they had found on him. we basically had no information, what kind of a boy trayvon was, what he did. we knew where he went to school and that was pretty much about it, and he lived in miami. that's pretty much all the information we knew about him. >> i'm back with trayvon's parents and their attorney benjamin crump. when you hear from this juror and i assume most of the other jurors didn't really feel like they knew your son at the end of
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hearing all this evidence. that's got to be difficult to hear. >> i think they knew trayvon was 17 years old. they heard that during the trial. it's a lot of things that were not said about trayvon during the trial. but you -- they knew that he was a teenager. they knew that he was on his way home. they knew that he had went to the store. they knew that he ran. they knew that he felt that george zimmerman was creepy. so there are some things they did know about trayvon. they may didn't understand why he didn't go home, well, if someone is following me in a vehicle and following me on foot, i wouldn't go home either. so there are some things that they know about teenagers in general even without specifically saying well, trayvon was a little playful. trayvon likes to be around kids. trayvon is more affectionate.
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even if they didn't know that, they knew that trayv was a teenager. they knew trayvon had just turned 17. he was 16 years and 21 days and that was stated by the prosecution at the trial. so they knew exactly how old he was. >> you felt they knew enough -- >> i felt they knew enough. >> related to this crime. >> i felt they knew enough. they knew he had gone to the store. they knew that he had purchased some items from the store, which was the drink and candy. how much do you need to know? >> ben, do you think it would have made a difference if the jury, i don't know if sympathized is the right word or felt they connected with him. clearly, she feels she knew what was in george zimmerman's heart. because at one point she said that in the interview. his heart was in the right place. it seems she didn't understand or know she felt enough about
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trayvon martin. >> well, i've heard sunny hostin and mark geragos on your show and how they talk about looking through their prism, trying to see how they evaluate people. the things that was so troubling when i watched that interview is how she said, "and their community, they." she almost said, like they were from a different world. and that's what you hope wouldn't happen, but unfortunately with that verdict, it suggests they were from a different world because -- sybrina said, if this was one of their children, five of them had children, what would they say about their child running from a strange person and minutes later there is a bullet in his heart? do you think they would see the acts of the adult as being culpable or as they did in your interview and say it was trayvon's fault for not getting home?
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>> in fact, what you mentioned, what the juror said, i want to play that for our viewers because it was in relation to rachel jeantel, trayvon's friend who testified and again, this juror didn't feel that she connected, i guess, with -- with that witness, and rachel was one of the few witnesses who was a friend of trayvon martin who could talk about him and talk about what they were talking about on the phone in those final moments. let's play what she said. >> so the term creepy ass cracker that rachel jeantel said trayvon had used, you're saying that simply is how trayvon and rachel talked to each other? >> sure, that's the way they talk. >> and did you see that as a negative statement or a racial statement as the defense suggested? >> i don't think it's really racial. i think it's just everyday life, the type of life that they live and how they are living in the
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environment that they are living in. >> so you didn't find her credible as a witness? >> no. >> i got an enormous amount of tweets from viewers that watch that interview and overwhelmingly, they were, the people tweeting me were saying there were an awful lot of theys in that statement, they, they and the viewers weren't sure whether she was referencing they trayvon and rachel jeantel or they african-americans in general. i'm wondering as you hear that what do you think? >> i think it speaks for itself. she's -- she definitely has a disconnect. she's not saying that's the way teenagers talk in our community. she's saying in their community that's how they talk. >> different from her community. >> different from her community, so she made sure it was a separate community that she was speaking ant. -- about. >> there's one other thing that she said, they clear -- and you referenced this.
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the jury, she, clearly bought the defense's argument about what happened. i asked her about that animation that the defense put on in the closing argument and she said she believes that was pretty accurate, and even though no one actually finally saw what was happening, that was just based on the defense. so she bought into the idea that trayvon martin threw the first punch. i just want to listen a little bit what she said. >> i think the roles changed. i think -- i think george got in a little bit too deep, which he shouldn't have been there, but trayvon decided that he wasn't going to let him scare him and get the one over up on him and i think trayvon got mad and attacked him. >> do you think trayvon martin played a role in his own death, pthat happened to him, this is something he also -- >> oh, i believe he played a huge role in his death.
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>> does it surprise you how much the jury seemed to agree with the defense's version of events? >> my answer to that would be what if it was their child that was murdered, that was shot in the heart? would they feel as though it was their child's blame, to blame for their death? i think that was a very insensitive statement coming from her, but then again, we see that she likes separating herself by saying they, they, they, so from the beginning of the trial, she had her mind made up. >> you believe she had her mind made up from the beginning of the trial? >> no doubt. no doubt. >> i think a lot of people are surprised that once this trial is done, george zimmerman obviously is a free man. he gets his gun back.
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when you heard that, what did you think? >> that's troubling. >> did you know that was going to happen? i didn't even think about that. >> i didn't know it was going to happen, but that's very troubling, and it's troubling because he made a statement that if he had to do it all over again he wouldn't change anything, so coupling that with the fact that he's receiving a firearm back, that's very troublesome. >> in the wake of this, ben, a town hall we did on race in this country. and charles blow said this to me the other day, he's african-american, he has teenage sons. he said i've always told my sons don't run when the police are around because you don't want to be viewed as suspicious.
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but now i feel like i have to tell them don't walk too slow. charles blow asked the question what is the speed with which an african american male should walk to not be suspicious and to have that conversation with your child i found stunning. when we come back, we'll talk a little bit about what people should tell their kids now, and what you would recommend people tell their kids now about something like that. we'll be right back.
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as we were talking about before the break, the killing of trayvon martin has made parental conversation harder for african
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american parents try to figure out what to tell their kids with encounters between strangers and the police. my parents nevered that that conversation with me about interacting with police, but every african-american dad i know has had that conversation with their son. attorney general eric holder talked about it in a speech just the other day. listen. >> trayvon martin's death caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son like my dad did with me. this was a father-son tradition i hoped would not need to be handed down, but as a father who loves his son and who is more knowing in the ways of the world, i had to do this to protect my boy. i am his father, and it is my responsibility not to burden him with the baggage of eras long
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gone, but to make him aware of the world he must still confront. >> we've been discussing what parents tell their kids about trayvon martin here on this program with jeffrey canada and charles blow. listen. >> i used to tell my boys, don't run because they would think you are suspicious, but now i say don't walk slowly because that also means you're suspicious. we have to figure out what is the pace a black man can walk in america and be beyond suspicion. that is a crazy conversation. >> there is a group of folks sitting here saying what do we do about this? how do we prepare kids to grow up to be a man but under these circumstances you have to act like it's 50 years ago, right? that's not where we want to go in this country. >> back again with tracy martin, sybrina fulton and benjamin crump. the idea that -- charles blow's question of, what is the pace with which an african-american man can walk is just a stunning one to me. i've been thinking about it every day since he said it. is this a conversation you had
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with trayvon, you've had with your other son? >> yes, definitely. by us living in a diverse community, diversified community, we really don't have to have the conversation where you have to be afraid of every different race because they go to school, they grew up going to school with other nationalities, so the conversation that you have -- that we have is, you know, we try to prepare them to become teenagers, to become up standing citizens and how to conduct themselves in public, but when you have a situation such as an unarmed teen get shot in the heart for doing absolutely nothing, you know, you have to -- you have to say to yourself what is it that i can tell my child now? what kind of conversation do i tell him as far as going outside and conducting himself?
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>> and it's not just about police, it's about unidentified neighborhood watch people or unidentified security guards. what do you tell parents? what would you tell parents out there? >> that's a very difficult subject for me because my older son, he likes to go out with his friends. he likes to go to the movies and things like that. i'm very afraid right now because i have no clue what to tell him. i have no clue if i should tell him to run or walk, if i should tell him to defend his self or lay there. i have no clue what to tell him and that's some of the conversations we need to have and also about the laws. we need to deal with the laws, as well, because my son was unarmed and the person that shot and killed him got away with murder. >> anderson, if i can say, it does lead to a larger conversation.
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part of the -- a big part of law is notice. i think with the tragedy of trayvon martin's shooting has put all of america on know vis. so what are we going to do about it now? once you have notice, you have a duty, you have a responsibility. are policemen going to do better and neighborhood watch going to do better and is the society going to do better? are we going to progress from this where it doesn't happen again? because they have often said, we can't wring trayvon back, but we're now worried about the next trayvon unknown. >> you have teenage sons, what do you tell them? have you had that conversation? >> i've had that conversation and we continue to have it. sunny hostin said something profound, that was profound when she said her son said what did trayvon do wrong? why was he afraid of trayvon? that's what i tell my boys it's so hard to be yourself because everybody looks at you through
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their eyes, and i -- i remember telling them if the police stop them, you tell the police i'm putting my hands up, sir, and you have to say that because when it's us, and i do a lot of civil rights, our children get killed in some of the most unbelievable ways and when little black and brown boys get killed, it's almost a cliche. nobody says a word. when we started trayvon's case we couldn't get anybody to cover the story and we weren't talking about race because we thought it was outrageous enough where you had a neighborhood watchman with a gun kill an unarmed child. >> it's interesting because i think in white communities, there is this inherent sense of privilege that the police are there to help you and, you know, talking to jeffrey cannon just the other day and talking to you, that assumption is not there in the african american
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community, in many parts of the african-american community. >> absolutely and the conversation evolves. as sybrina says we have to take a negative and find a positive out of it. we have to ask the department of justice can little black and brown boys walk down the street and not have private citizens with guns profile and follow them and confront them because we need to know the law because we need to know what to tell our children, and if that is not the law, then the killer of trayvon martin should be held accountable for violating his civil rights. because he had every legal right to walk down that neighborhood sidewalk and not be profiled and confronted. >> yet, as you know, the juror b37 and i'm assuming other jurors as well didn't discuss race in the jury room. she clearly does not believe that race played any role in the profiling of trayvon martin at any level in this case.
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let's play that. do you feel that george zimmerman racially profiled trayvon martin? do you think race played a role in his decision, his view of trayvon martin as suspicious? >> i don't think he did. i think circumstances caused george to think he might be a robber or trying to do something bad in the neighborhood because of all that had gone on previously. there were unbelievable number of robberies in the neighborhood. >> so you don't believe race played a role in this case? >> i don't think it did. i think if, if there was another person, spanish, white, asian, if they came in the same situation they were trayvon was, i think george would have reacted the exact same way. >> what do you think of that? >> i think that's a joke. because he clearly said in the 911 call that it was a black teenager, an african american
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teenager, so that was the profile. that was the person he was looking for because that was the person or people that were breaking in in the area. unfortunately, trayvon was not one of those people. trayvon had every right to be in that community. trayvon had every right to go to the store and come back in peace and safe. so i think that's really a joke. i don't understand why she wouldn't see that, but then again, there's the disconnect. there's definitely a disconnect. >> and anderson, i was going to simply say that you don't have to deal with the issue with the denial. that's the troubling part. you have to look at defense strategy. they put the witness up who said her house had been burglarized. so it was almost suggested that the neighborhood
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watch had a right to stop every black teenage there walked in his neighborhood and are we going to indict people based on the acts of a few, are we going to say the whole black male race can be profiled or if you have a white male do something, are we now going to say you can indict them, because it's all -- it's really different when you have a caucasian do something, nobody says, oh, that's them. >> do you think that -- i don't want to put you on the spot about prosecution and stuff because i know you're thankful that it was brought to trial but do you think race was not mentioned in this trial and prosecutors went out of their way to say race was not part of this, do you think that was a mistake or strategy? what do you make of that? >> anderson, i thought that when we brought the case because most prosecutors wouldn't have
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brought the case and i thought they got to the heart of the matter. lawyers have different strategies. they did not want to get into the divisive issue of race. in fact, it was the defense that brought up race and they responded. it's interesting now because in the civil rights case, we do get to look directly at race which was not addressed in the state case, so it's somewhere where they minute for bad and minute for good, nobody can say we addressed race in the trial so it should be something that the department of justice can look at with fresh eyes. >> when mark o'mara said after the trial was done in the press conference, if george zimmerman had been black, african american, this would have never been brought to trial. do you think if george zimmerman had been black he would be allowed to go free after shooting somebody? >> absolutely not. that's ridiculous. you can go to any courtroom in america, anderson, and don't take my word for it. go sit in the back of any
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courtroom in america and watch how justice is dispensed when it comes to young black males as compared to others in the courtroom. and i believe if the roles were reversed and trayvon martin shot unarmed george zimmerman, he would have been arrested right there on the spot. our one, minute one, second one, if he wasn't shot because when a black man has a gun, it's a different ball game. george zimmerman had a gun, and we saw how he was in the police station. it was almost as if not only did he profile trayvon martin, but the police profiled him, too. they always took his perspective. never once it seemed like did anybody take the dead kid on the ground's perspective. >> there's another case right now with a woman in florida who, her husband was abusive to her, has a long history of domestic abuse. shot a warning shot, argued
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stand your ground, she got sent to jail for 20 years after the jury deliberated for 12 minutes. they didn't grant her stand your ground. >> that's why the town hall meeting that you had on your show was so important. we have to talk about these things. when certain people in the community keep saying there's so much inequity in the way the justice system treats us. we stop believing. >> in a lot of white communities, people roll their eyes and think we've moved beyond this, and it's -- it's unfortunate that this conversation is often one sided. it's often coming from african-americans. it's not a conversation that's engaged with, with multiple communities it seems to me. >> that's the beauty of sybrina and tracy and the dignity they present themselves with on
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behalf of their son. now, some people, sure, they stay we can think of reasons why we're not going to talk about it, let's just blame trayvon, then we don't have to deal with it. but if you look at it as a parent who cares about children and the young people, you say we can't have this happen to another young person. >> we're going to take one more break and i want to talk about the legacy and work you're doing to keep trayvon's memory alive and also to try to change some laws. we'll be right back. all business purchases. so you can capture your receipts, and manage them online with jot, the latest app from ink. so you can spend less time doing paperwork. and more time doing paperwork. ink from chase.
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back now with tracy martin, sybrina fulton and benjamin crump. i don't want to say anything good can come out of this, because i don't believe anything good can come out of this, but what do you want to happen now? i know you started the trayvon martin foundation. what change do you hope to effect? >> we hope the laws, we want to make sure any teenager that's walking down the street can feel safe. that they won't be killed, and that they will make it home safely. another thing we hope to accomplish through the foundation is to connect families that are victims of senseless gun violence. so we, through our foundation, will be reaching out to other families that are hurting just
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like we are hurting. we want to connect with them, we want to empower them. we want to help them motivate themselves and encourage themselves so that they can move on and have productive lives, because this takes a lot of out of. >> you must feel connected to so many others who have lost their children. >> yes, we do, we do. and through the foundation also, changing the laws, we want to have a mentoring program. we're going to have different pastors come on the line, on a conference call, and pray for these families just to strengthen them, because these times are very difficult, and you're hurting and you have no idea what to do. we also want to connect them with at least legal advice to give them some sort of direction. we had parks and crump, and i thank god for them. but some people have no clue what to do.
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we just had good direction. we were able to, you know, move on from what was happening through the parks and crump team. >> do you believe the system works? you've had this horrific experience. you've seen the justice system up close. do you believe it works? >> well, we have faith in the system. but it's -- it also goes back to what you have to work with. for me, in our case, we just feel as though that the state did all that they could do with what they had. had it been investigated properly from the beginning, it had been more overwhelming evidence. do the system work? it didn't work for us. but we remain prayerful that the
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system, through this injustice, that we can deal some type of -- we can close that gap and hopefully the system can start working for everyone equally. >> and you're hoping civil rights charges are filed, obviously? >> yes, for the bigger message, anderson. the precedence is a terrible one that this case sets, that you can be the aggressor, you can initiate the confrontation. all the evidence say trayvon was running away. yet minutes later he is shot in the heart, his killer says i was standing my ground and he walks free. now the next young minority kid that's killed, what do you think the killer is going to say? >> have you -- you have strong faith, and from day one you talked about that. has there been any moment in all this where you doubted your faith, that's made you question
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it? >> never, never. the only thing i questioned is why we were selected as opposed to another family. but i've gotten over those questions. i've gotten over that, and i feel that he selected the right family. god wanted us to be the spokesperson. so we just are being obedient to what we need to do, and what god is telling us to do and what he's leading us to do. so hopefully we can find some positive, some bright side out of all of this. >> your strength is amazing throughout and it continues to be. thank you very much for talking to us tonight. >> thank you. we are going to take a quick break. we want to speak to our legal analysts when we come back.
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things from other cases. i never understand how people, you know, having a son about the same age, i don't understand how anybody ever deals with this. it's just tough to follow and comment on. you just don't, as a parent, to me, it's unimaginable. i'm happy, i guess, if happy is the right word, that they're channeling it into a foundation. that's a great thing. i just don't know how else you cope with things like this. the trial aside, the loss of a kid, of your kid, i just think -- i don't know how a parent ever gets over that. >> sunny? >> i think what is remarkable is that we see what a remarkable family this is. this is a family of grace and dignity and of faith. and that was apparent throughout the trial. it's apparent now. i think what was interesting is that they still believe in the justice system. they say that the justice system may not have worked for them, but they still believe in it.
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i think that's a message to everyone. but i wonder at this point what does justice look like to them, going forward? will they get justice through the federal government? will they get it through their foundation? i think
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this is "piers morgan live." welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. tonight you heard what trayvon martin's parents just told anderson cooper. >> it came as a complete shock to me, and the reason i say that is because i just look at people as people, and i thought for sure that the jury looked at trayvon as an average teenager that was minding his own business, that wasn't committing any crime, that was coming home from the store and were feet away from where he was actually going, and i just believe that they realized that, but when i heard the verdict, i kind of understand the disconnect and that maybe they didn't see trayvon as their son.