tv Anderson Cooper Special Report CNN July 19, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
to make. the conclusion of a fascinating conversation. my thank you to our studio audience. good evening again. in just a moment, a "360" special on race and justice in america. it was for many deeply personal and deeply moving. but first, president obama, when we held the town hall, had yet to add his voice to the debate. now he has, making a surprise appearance in the white house press room. >> when trayvon martin was first shot, i said that this could have been my son. another way of saying that is, trayvon martin could have been me. 35 years ago. and when you think about why, in the african-american community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, i
think it's important to recognize that the african-american community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away. >> president obama spoke for nearly 20 minutes, acknowledging the effects of crime, outlining ways as he sees it of making the justice system operate more fairly and asking all americans to get involved, which makes a great jumping off point for our town hall. take a look. ♪ good evening and welcome to a "360" town hall, "race and justice in america." tonight, a conversation sparked by the killing of trayvon martin, and the acquittal of george zimmerman. but it's a conversation rooted deep in american history. for 2 1/2 centuries, the subject has changed from slavery to jim crow to voting rights.
but the theme stays constant, race and justice. namely whether justice applies different and is seen differently depending on skin color. race, justice, who we are as americans. it's an important conversation coming out with distinguished voices with many different points of view. but first the case that brought us here. no homicide can be called routine. >> what is your emergency, police, fire or medical? >> an unarmed african-american teenager was shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watchman who had hopes of becoming a policeman. the teenager, the watchman said, attacked him. police quickly responded and soon george zimmerman was being led inside the sanford police station for questioning. but in the days after the shooting, it became clear there would be no immediate formal charges and just as clear that the death of trayvon martin was anything but routine. trayvon martin was black. george zimmerman is a man whose
mother is peruvian and identifies himself as hispanic. >> i want you to know that what is happened here is not acceptable. here, nowhere in florida, nowhere in the country, and nowhere in the world. >> soon, there were rallies across the country. a large group marching in protest in front of the white house. still, no formal charges. and timely the president himself, 27 days after the shooting saying this. >> my main message is to the parents of trayvon martin. if i had a son he would look like trayvon. you know, i think they are right to expect that all of us as
americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. >> for many african-americans, for many whites, wearing a hoodie like the one trayvon martin wore became a badge of honor. a symbol of respect and a protest all at the same time. finally, six weeks after trayvon martin was killed, florida state prosecutors formally stepped in. >> today, we filed an information charging george zimmerman with murder in the second degree. >> the date was april 11, 2012. and more than 14 months later, a six-woman jury was chosen. the trial took just under three weeks, with the jury taking about 16 hours to acquit george zimmerman of second degree murder and manslaughter. three days of protests have followed, most of it peaceful. there has been scatter violence,
tossing rocks and things like that, but that is largely the exception. people have been organizing in churches and communities and holding town halls like this one, the focus to a large degree on racial injustice. interestingly when i spoke with juror b37 yesterday, she told me race never came up in deliberations. joining us tonight, mark geragos. also barbara arnwein. in addition, we have ben crump, senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin, and with us from florida, state attorney angela corey, who prosecuted george zimmerman. i appreciate you all being with us. [ applause ] so ben crump, i want to start off with you. as you heard, i interviewed juror b37 yesterday, and she said that race, in her opinion, was not a factor in this and never came up in the jury deliberation.
i want to play some of what she said. >> 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 just circumstances caused george to think that 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 a 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 there was another person, spanish, white, asian, if they came in the same situation where trayvon was, i think george would have reacted the exact same way. >> do you believe that? >> well, i watched the interview, anderson, and the biggest thing i took away from it, she never, ever saw sybrina fulton's child, trayvon, as her
child. she never saw that could have been her child. in fact, she did just like the sanford police did on february 26, 2012, when they profiled trayvon, too. they never looked at it from the vantage point of the dead kid laying on the ground. >> so you don't think she understood who trayvon martin was? >> not at all. especially when you asked her the question, did she feel sympathy for trayvon martin? she said, i feel sympathy for both of them. trayvon is dead. george zimmerman was the killer, and she equated them just the same. >> during the trial, race was not brought up. do you wish it had been? do you think it was part of the equation in george zimmerman's mind, the reason he was profiled? >> i think the prosecutors made a strategic decision that they didn't even have to get into the divisive issue of race. they said that he criminally profiled trayvon martin. and that is the -- we don't know
if george zimmerman is racist or not. we don't know what is in his heart. we can look to his words and past actions, and i pray that's what the department of justice is going to do. but he criminally profiled trayvon and why? what was it about trayvon that made him a criminal or "f"-ing punk or a-hole? and the conversation is evolving now, because with this verdict, people are saying can people profile my child just walking home and get out their car and follow and confront him? because the police can't do that. the united states supreme court says the police can't profile based on raise. >> you have said you believed racial profile was part of this case, race was part of this case. >> yes. i think what's important here is that race was an element of his decision. actually, race did come into the arguments. it was introduced by the defense
when they said that a black man had previously broken into a white woman's home, and that was entered into evidence. so race did come in, but in a very negative way. >> angela corey, you said this case was never about race, but you also said trayvon martin was profiled to be a criminal. how do you reconcile those two things? >> many factors go into one human being profiling another human being. >> doesn't race factor into that? >> race could factor into it, but it was not the sole factor, nor were we able to file the race enhancement, our hate crime enhancement under florida law. we believe that the criminal profiling, the wannabe cop, the fact he was armed and should have never gotten out of his car would be enough to prove second degree murder. >> did you believe that race was one of those reasons george
zimmerman paid attention to trayvon martin? >> i think it was all of it. i think it could have been clothing. i think george zimmerman felt like no one could walk through his neighborhood without him knowing who you were and where you were going. and we think that he stepped over the boundaries. we said this was always about boundaries. we know that trayvon had no idea who george zimmerman was, but, but george zimmerman assumed he knew who trayvon martin was. that's where he was wrong, and we believe he was criminally wrong. >> mark, as ben crump said, the prosecutors decided not to talk about race during this trial. was that you think a mistake or why do you think that zmegs >> first of all, it's naive. second of all, it's untrue. ask angela corey if in jury selection, the pre-emptory challenges, you get so many, that means you can eliminate jurors without giving a reason whatsoever. unless the u.s. supreme court
says you have exercised against a class. in this case, they were found by the judge to have xer sized two pre-emptory challenges against a coggizable jurors, white women. the judge ended up receipting those two jurors, and you ended up having six white women, or at least five white women on that jury. the idea that you're not going to have race enter into this has got to be the single most naive thing. raise determines everything in the criminal justice system. >> you believe race determines everything? >> determines everything. i can explain 90% of all cases, because no theory is 100%. but i can explain 90% of all cases, starting with the police. the police traditionally, in the
african-american community, they know if you've got a young boy 16 to 25, what you tell them is, you know, hands on at 10:00 and 2:00, you say yes, sir, you don't run, you don't do anything. you have explicit instructions. why? because if you're black while driving, that's the same as probable cause. why did this get traction in the first place? this thing got traction in the first place because anybody else who is not a cop who shoots and kills somebody is going to get arrested. they arrest first, ask questions later. now, the perception is that he was not black, and that's why he got arrested. i frankly think why he didn't get arrested, the fact is, you have to look at who the victim was, because that also is the other determinant. if you had a pretty white female as a victim that george zimmerman had shot, that case -- he would have been filed on and they probably would have sought the death penalty. you have a black male. you will find, if you go through
all the death penalty research, one of the things you don't get in this country is you don't get a whole lot of death penalty verdicts against people when the victim is a black male. >> jeff, what do you make of this? >> i am less sure than mark is that race dominates everything in the criminal justice system. it's my job in a case like this to be in the weeds and look at what the government did and didn't prove. i actually think there is a lot to support the jury's verdict in this case, that this was not a strong case. this was not a case with eye witnesses. this was not a case where it was clear who the aggressor was. >> the only person who knows for a fact is george zimmerman, because trayvon martin is not alive. there was not an eyewitness that saw the initial confrontation. >> that's right. so in the weeds where i dwell, away from the larger themes, this verdict makes a certain amount of sense to me. now, how you fit that into the larger dynamic of race and -- >> of course it fits with five
white female jurors. >> why was there not an african-american person on that jury? can you explain that? >> i can explain that the jurors got seated in the order in which they were questioned. we were attempting to exercise two pre-emptories. the court had us receipt two of the female jurors, which did not allow us to get to the back row. as you know, there were two african-american females that we kept on the jury that the defense struck, and they stated their cause on the record and the judge allowed those strikes. to it had to do with the seating, and who came in first. i speak as a prosecutor who has been doing this for 32 years, and i can tell you when we analyze a case, it has nothing
to do with the raise of the defendant or the victim. we look at the evidence, the proof, and who was the victim. >> you don't believe in our justice system -- >> not the race. >> you don't believe in our justice system there are inherent bases, from who gets stopped more often by police to the way people perceive other people without realizing it? i saw studies which analyzed jury verdicts in florida from 2000 to 2010, all-white juries convict african-american defendants 16% more than white defendants. and if you have one black juror, that inequity goes away. >> we don't see that the way it's being pour trade. jurors tend to listen to the evidence and vote on that evidence. we've had all white juries convict white people of killing blacks.
the prosecutor has handled several cases and put a white man on death row for killing black men. we've all been in that situation before. quite frankly, we have seen women treated more differently than men. but that doesn't mean you change your prosecution style. you always base your decision to charge on the evidence and the law. this was a case about the law, and we knew it was a tough case. it hinged on justifiable use of deadly force, and quite frankly, whether a person is white or black, male or female, when there is any arguable claim of justifiable use of deadly force, there is not an immediate arrest because we don't want to start speedy trial. that is a legal concept. it has nothing to do with race. >> one of the things you said the other day is a lot in the trial depends on the jury's ability to sympathize or understand a defendant or victim. i want to show you something that juror b37 said to me
yesterday. i was asking her about one of the witnesses, rachel jeantel, a friend of trayvon martin's, and i think a lot of people who were responding to this on twitter were sort of wondering about the jury's ability to relate to trayvon martin. the jury's ability to understand trayvon martin, and by correlation, the jury's ability to relate to and understand rachel jeantel. let's listen to what the juror said about this witness. so that term creepy ass cracka 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. >> 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're living and the environment that they're living in.
>> so you didn't find her credible as a witness? >> no. >> barbara, i see you shaking your head. >> yes, because of all the theys. the way they live, the way think think. this is obviously a woman who sees herself as divorced from they. she doesn't say this is the way young people think or act. she doesn't say this is the way our community acts. this is a person who i noticed each in your interview, she kept talking about george. georgy. and trayvon was the boy of color. >> that goes back once again to what i said this case is over in jury selection. >> right. i agree with that. >> nobody thinks of themselves as a racist. and i'm not accusing nibble of being a racist. what i'm saying is race is the prism through which people see things. people don't consciously -- none of these jurors, if you interview them, say yeah, i'm a racist and that's why i voted
for george zimmerman. >> i know people in the kkk and they don't even think they're a racist. a neonazi doesn't think they're a racist. >> i'm defending white people. so understand when you and angela, i apologize for beating up on you, but sunny is cheering. the fact is, when you had that jury and you saw who that jury was, and i'm not monday morning quarterbacking you, because i said it to anderson at the time. i said the case was over. i said when you put her on, rachel on, and had her as kind of the center piece for the case, my opinion she was the prosecution made her the senter piece, i said at the time, the wheels just came off and they're never going to recover, because there is no way you're going to get some of those women on that
jury, from that community who are in any way, shape or form going to relate to rachel jeantel. >> we off talked this is going to be a litmus test. it's very troubling, because as martin luther king jr.'s daughter said, this is going to be a defining moment to know where we're at in the status of my father's dream. >> i want angela corey to respond. >> we have a certain way we have to exercise our cause challenges and pre-emptory challenges. once there were six people seated, we had to move on to alternates. our laws are very clear about the process for jury selection, and that was the jury selected. we have to adhere to their verdict. the system worked. they were diligent in arriving at their verdict. they worked 16 hours, and requepsed all of the evidence.
we cannot fault their verdict, and i don't believe it can be faulted based on race. this was a tough case. we felt it was compelling that george zimmerman got out of his car after profiling trayvon martin, followed him, and attempted to apprehend him. we felt we could prove it was not justifiable use of deadly force. >> we have to leave it there. i want to talk about sort of how we got here when we come back. the long history of race and justice in america and what the future holds as our "360" town hall continues. we'll be right back. this man is about to be the millionth customer. would you mind if i go ahead of you? instead we had someone go ahead of him and win fifty thousand dollars. congratulations you are our one millionth customer. nobody likes to miss out.
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we're talking about race and justice in tonight's "360" town hall, how americans of all races have experienced something that's supposed to be distributed equally. and administered fairly. but the question is it? you ask trayvon martin's family and george zimmerman's family, no, it's not fair. no, because my son should have never been tried or no, because my son should still be arrive and the man who killed him went free. when it comes to a racially charged case, this is far from the first. here is some perspective. in the early 1960s, spurred by martin luther king, jr., and the millions who supported him, congress passed and president johnson signed the civil rights act of 1964, guaranteeing minority rights would be protected. even though it was a remarkable piece of legislation, on the streets the impact was less than clear.
it seemed time after time minorities were in the literal and symbolic cross hairs when it came to authority. you don't have to look too far back to find examples. in 1989, five young men, four black, one hispanic, were charged with assault and rape. a white woman has been attacked while jogging in new york's central park. all confessed or were implicated. at trial a year later they were all convicted. 12 years later, those convictions were vacated and questions raised about how the police obtained those confessions. in los angeles, a black motorist named rodney king was beaten over and over again by los angeles police. the videotape that surfaced ignited a nation. when the officers were found not guilty, the rioting was unlike anything the country had seen. sentiments then sound familiar to the sentiments now. >> today, the system failed us. >> race, authority, politics.
conversations that are still very difficult. and the conversation continues tonight with data on sentencing for federal crimes and race. from december of 2007 to december 2011, sentences for black male offenders were 19.5% longer, accounting for a string of factors such as type of defense, education level and more. joining us now is charles blow, writing the entire system failed trayvon martin long before his confrontation with george zimmerman, sunny hostin, jeffrey toobin, and for his first cnn town hall not involved with competing republican candidates, newt gingrich, the former house speaker. appreciate all of you being with us. i want to introduce everybody to a very special guest we have, raymond santana, one of the so-called central park five whose convictions were vacated. he was vindicated after serving
so long in jail along with the others. i'm so glad you're here. [ applause ] what's so extraordinary to me about your case, i grew up in new york city and i remember your picture being splashed in the papers. i remember the media who at that time i wasn't working for, talking about packs of wild kids, wilding through the park. and there was this drumbeat to get these young men, these five men convicted and the police did. they got confessions and convictions. you've seen the worst part of the criminal justice system. as you hear this conversation, what do you think? >> you know, it saddens me, it sickens me that we still go through this 25 years later after the central park jogger case. when i found out about the verdict, i was crushed. it took me back to when we was convicted and i had to relive that all over again. it's like, you know, you get to a point when you say enough is enough. when do we win one? it's like we go through all these cases --
[ applause ] you know, we can read the list off. when does it stop? and it sickens me. but it strengthens me in a sense because it pushes our own case. we're still in the legal battle with the city right now. >> you're fighting a legal battle with the city. >> and it's been over ten years. and it's sad. >> charles, when you say that the system failed trayvon martin long before that shot was fired, what do you mean? >> i think that you have to look at all of the contributing factors here, including florida's self-defense laws, which allow someone to be an aggressor. if you assume that george zimmerman was an aggressor when he got out of his car. they allow you to be the aggressor.
and if you engage in a fight and you start to lose that fight, the idea of self-defense can switch personage. you had it first when i was following you and i engaged you. the moment that i start to lose it bounces from you to me. >> in my interview, the juror said that's what they looked at, what happened in those final minutes in that fight. he feared for his life. so he was -- >> and that's a moral question. how is it possible that you could even write a law where you have no culpability? i'm not saying that if you feel like your life is about to be taken that you shouldn't do everything to preserve it. that's just a human thing. but you should have some culpability for starting this action. and there's none. >> these stand your ground laws take our humanity away, our civility away. yes, if you're in your home and someone breaks in, you have every right to stand your ground and protect your family. but if you're out in the street,
an altercation happens, you mean to tell me you don't have any civility to try to retreat and say let me get away? let's try to work this out. that's what stand your ground does. it allows you to kill. we've got to look at that. >> it sends an irresponsible message in the true sense that your stand your ground claim goes up exponentially as long as you make sure the person is dead. >> i want to bring in mark geragos. as we heard earlier, the federal government looked into this. black males are sentenced almost 20% longer than white males with similar convictions. >> right. it's not just federal, but state courts and every day in court. that's what happens. it starts not when you get to court, it starts when you get arrested. who are the people who are being profiled by police? who are the people being pulled over by police? race infects everything in the criminal justice system.
>> i want to bring in speaker gingrich. do you believe that, speaker gingrich, that race infects everything in the criminal justice system? >> i think race has an enormous impact on decision after decision. i think you almost have to be blind to america and not realize that we still have very, very deep elements that go all the way back to slavery and segregation and go all the way back to fundamental differences in neighborhoods and in cultures. and i think it would be very healthy for the country and for the congress to re-evaluate both the criminal justice part of court, but also to re-evaluate the whole way we've dealt with prison and the way which we created basically graduate schools for criminality in locking people up in ways that are increasing their inability to function in society. >> i think a lot of people are like, wow, who are you? [ applause ] that's probably an unfair
thought, but you're not here so you don't have the advantage of hearing the audience. but a lot of people are nodding their heads and probably think i didn't think i would agree with former speaker gingrich. [ applause ] >> i started working with the recent chuck colson on prison reform ant eight years ago, which is a component of this. i also think frankly, that if we're going to have a true conversation about this, we have to focus as intensely on the extraordinary rise of gangs and the degree to which we had a 40% increase in gang membership since 2009. there are now ten gang members for every policeman in chicago. we need a total view of what's been happening in america. i think the word civility is a great word. and it was really important to bring into this conversation. how do we restore civility at every level, from schools to
malls to walking late at night, to seeing each other as genuine neighbors? i do think this is a profound moment. whether we can grow it into one that brings us together or just becomes another excuse to yell at each other, i don't think we know yet. >> that's the frustrating thing in all these conversations. i do feel like it goes around in circles and nothing gets resolved. >> but there is a conversation going on about guns, where the second amendment has become -- the idea that you have a right to bear guns. just go on social media and twitter. if you say one word about guns and how you get attacked. it's not like we're having this conversation. we are having this conversation. and one side is winning. >> the one thing trayvon martin has given, everybody in society knows this, this isn't fair. what are we going to do about it now that we know? >> i want to have all our guests stay where you are.
next we're going to talk about what the killing of trayvon martin means to families with kids. what parents are telling their kids about race and justice as our "360" town hall special continues. [ applause ] in cities like charlotte,ing. atlanta, and chicago, we're revving people up to take a lap around the legendary nascar race track with drivers from the coca-cola racing family. coca-coca family track walks give thousands of race fans the chance to get out, get moving, and have fun... all along the way. it's part of our goal to inspire more than three million people to rediscover the joy of being active this summer. see the difference all of us can make... together. i tthan probablycare moreanyone else.and we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them.
their children. today, eric holder put it like this. >> trayvon's death last spring caused me to sit down and 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 gone, but to make him aware of the world he must still confront. cnn contributor charles blow fred it another way. as heartbreaking as it is poignant, what pace should a young black man walk to avoid suspicion? charles blow is with us again. also, jeffrey canada.
sunny hostin and mark geragos, sort of a hero of mine. it's great for you all to be here. thank you. charles, i want to start off with you. we had this conversation the other night and that question you asked, at what speed, at what pace does a young african-american male need to walk, i just found that haunting and i thought about it ever since. explain that conversation that you were having with your child. >> i have had a conversation where i say, you know, if you're around police and maybe it's dark or something, you might not want to run. you don't want to draw attention to yourself. you just don't want that problem. a lot of people have had that conversation with young black men as it relates to the police. you don't want to draw attention to yourself in that situation. what zimmerman was saying about trayvon was he was walking too slowly and it wasn't as if he had already stolen something but
that he was about to do something. and that struck me as saying, you know, is there any way that they can hold their bodies, is there any way that you can telegraph to someone who might find you suspicious that you are not suspicious? that i am not the enemy, that i am not who you think that i am? and i am struggling as a parent to figure out what is it, what can i say or maybe there is nothing i can say. i struggle with the idea that my boys have to be divested of innocence. that either i have to do it, the man who loves them, or someone else will do it who does not love them. >> jeffrey, is this a conversation you've had? >> here's what's so sad about this. so the very people that you're supposed to turn to when you're scared, those of us who raise boys, and i have my 15-year-old here, are telling them when you deal with these folks, there's a
likelihood they might kill you, right? that's a horrible thing. so when you're around them, the ones who have state -- the state has given them the authority to protect you. you have to worry because they'll kill you before you do anything else. we raise our boys trying to avoid that, but we never thought here's a situation, just imagine you're trayvon, you're 17, some guy is following you. you run away. he ran. he runs after you. he doesn't say he's running. then's confrontation. now do i tell my boys, if a strange man approaches you, do not fight back? do not defend yourself, because maybe they might kill you. and then who is going to believe that you were really an innocent person? that's a problem. [ applause ] >> i've had so many people ask me, why didn't trayvon -- he had a phone, why didn't he just call 911? in some parts of this country, in some communities, that's the
last thing you would do. when the police show up, they're not necessarily on your side. you have never seen the police show up and they be on your side. so the idea that the first person you would think would be the police, it's not what you would think. >> saturday night i get a call and it said police officer on my cell phone. he's pulled over my 19-year-old son. and he's asked him, i want to talk to your dad. can you ever imagine getting a phone call from a police officer saying i'm concerned? i'm fortunate that's what you would want. >> our second oldest boy, when he was about trayvon's age, was put down on the ground, handcuffed, knees on his neck and taken away, and luckily his girlfriend was there and ran up to the house and said they just took bruce. so i go down and i say what happened? they said well, we took him.
and they're mad, and they're angry. i said that's my son. why are you angry? i'm just trying to find out what happened to my son. the idea that as a citizen i would go in and say i want to know. so they were angry and hostile with me. which was fine. i kind of expected that. but when i asked why did you do that to him? i understand you arrested him, but why the knee on the neck, why this whole aggressive kind of overreaction? they said look, he was considered a suspect. i said why, what was the description? this is the honest to god truth. they said kid with a cap on, baggy pants. i said that was it? so this idea that kids have these interactions and we think police are going to be like i'm going to call your dad. that's just not the way these young kids live and grow up. and the problem, the reason this is i think so important to america is that there's a whole group of folks sitting here saying so what do we do about this?
how do we prepare kids to say you're growing up to be a man, but under these circumstances you have to act like it's 50 years ago. that's not where we want to go in this country. >> anna, as you listen to this, what goes through your mind? >> i think the whole conversation about innocence is really to the point, isn't it? that young black men and probably young brown men are not innocent. they lose their innocence. but all of us have lost our innocence. i wonder if perhaps we fell asleep by even entrusting the justice system to bring back a verdict that we thought was fair. i mean, the good news is that in the case of at least we were trying to get zimmerman arrested, blacks and whites wearing hoodies and all kinds of parks, maybe those should have kept on for an entire year, because we can't trust the system. we are still at a kind of a war that degrades and belittles a great part of our population. >> and sunny, you've worked in
the system. the system is all there is. how does one -- where do we go from here? >> i've been asking myself that question since this verdict that i think most people know i was stunned by. i think it was my naivety. i come from a law enforcement background. i was one of those prosecutors on the front lines and i saw this case as very race neutral. it was not an element of the crime. and i relied upon the justice system to see what i saw, which was a second degree murder case. as a mother of a brown boy, i struggled with that. what do i tell him now, when this case first broke, his question to me, and in retrospect was so poignant, he said why was he so afraid of trayvon martin? what was he do? it's that inherent fear of the brown boy that i don't know what you do about that. >> it just seems to me, having these conversations is so important. >> you know, what occurs to me
is when mr. canada and mr. blow speak so eloquently as other journalists have about the question of what shall i tell my black son? i would be very interested to know how many parents are saying what shall i say to my white son or white daughter about this world, and the fact that all of us have a role in it. and that we do not live in a race neutral world. we do not live in an innocent world, in any kind of way. so what it means to me is that if parents don't have the courage to have these kinds of conversations, then we've got to bring them back into the classroom or in our churches, or in art. >> you bring up a really good point. when i was growing up, no one talked to me how to interact with the police. i always assumed they're like "chips," the police are my friends. ponch and john are going to help me. it never would have occurred to me. >> part of that is what people call white privilege.
you have the luxury of not caring. >> i'm like the poster boy of white privilege. >> not you particularly. >> well, no, i am. we can't help where we're born. >> the other leg of that is the phenomena people call racism without racist, which is that for a lot of people, bias happens subconsciously. they're not aware that they're exercising bias. in other cases, bias is built into the criminal justice system as the attorneys are talking about earlier or into the medical system where children are -- blacks in general get less proper care. i was looking at a study before i came in. another one of those medical studies, this is pediatricians. they measured subconscious bias and realized a lot of the doctors have subconscious bias. of those who had subconscious bias, for whites against blacks, they were less likely to offer
pain management to the children in their care if they were black. that is the most cruel kind of expression, and they're not even aware that they're allowing these black children to suffer. >> i think thisser shoe, which is so important, we're raised in america, a lot of this stuff comes in sort of through subconscious. you're not thinking about it. all of us need to examine this. the problems in these kind of cases is for some people, when this gets worked out, there is a really negative impact on their community. so when you look at the incarceration rate, you look at who gets suspended and expelled, who gets the alternative sentence, the data is just the same and it is all against the same folk that people think the system is fair, and they don't understand why people keep trying to make it a racial issue. they're like, why don't y'all get over this? >> they're not hanging out in
criminal courtrooms. just spend any amount of time in a criminal courtroom, and you see who the prosecutors are prosecuting. i spend virtually every day in state criminal courtrooms, and less in federal. but in state criminal courtrooms and it's a revolving door for people of color. and really for part of it is this war on drugs. >> there's a war on brown people and they use drugs as a mechanism. >> drugs is a problem. >> i think there are a lot of white people that hear that and will be shocked by that. you really believe there is a war on brown people? >> i'll give you an example of this. >> cocaine was -- when it was in the black community, we had the most draconian laws. as soon as cocaine started to get into the white, middle class community, all of a sudden you
could get diversion and dej, which is deferred entry. and you wouldn't go to jail. >> just look at marijuana which more kids use, and you realize usage rate, every time that they do polling, they use white and black kids use about the same, white kids use slightly more. but almost all of the arrests for marijuana are among black teenagers. how can you explain that away other than it is policies like we have right here in new york city, which is stop and frisk, where you're literally hundreds of thousands of young black and brown kids are being stopped and frisked. only a tiny portion are ever arrested for anything. they're doing more stop and frisk than there are black and brown people. >> how do you address that? >> when they do polling, and they is this a good thing or bad thing, the majority of white people say it's great. >> anna was trying to say something. >> how you address it is you ask
all the people right now who are very heart broken about this verdict, white people, you ask them in their towns to do something about stop and frisk. and ask themselves it's either stop and get robbed or stop and frisk. we really ask right now for people to make a difference in their communities. and it can't just be about feeling badly or about heartbreak or what jeffrey canada alluded to before, the fact that our schools are more segregated than ever, and black and brown kids are being suspended at unbelievable proportions and being incarcerated for minor offenses. it's time for everybody to come out of their silos. if we really say we're heart broken and do something about folks who live across town. >> i want to bring in the editorial director at the b.e.t. network. you've been listening in on this. you have a child, as well. >> yeah. it was really difficult not to shout out, but i'm on good
behavior. >> i think i heard a shoutout. i'm not sure if that was you or barbara behind you. >> particularly this idea of like it's not about race, it's not ant -- about race. when it's a luxury that we don't get to have and also i don't think it's the truth that you can't -- that you don't see race. i think that the interesting thing that's happening is that particularly with the zimmerman case, it's this idea of who belongs. he made a decision that trayvon did not belong. and we've had this construct of this nation of laws and nation to protect white male heterosexual christian people. and when you are removing very swiftly out of that construct, but these laws were designed to protect and serve them. so this idea that these six jurors who were white women, you know, and you were speaking about how they could not identify with trayvon.
even though essentially they probably would have the same fear. i'm walking home, it's dark, raining, a creepy man is following me. as a woman, you think i might get hurt, i might get raped. he thought the same thing. trayvon thought the same thing. but they had no humanity, no connection with, i could have the same fear as that boy walking home. however, they identified with zimmerman's fear of a boy is deviant, he's violent, he could hurt me, rather than i'm being hurt and i'm being pursued. the day that zimmerman will say to a trayvon, son, are you lost, can i help you get home, that's when it's neutral. >> anna? >> it's time for action. it's time for action. i think that is our crisis, if you think of it. that these white women couldn't possibly put themselves in the
shoes of that black boy. here we are at such a magnificent anniversary of martin luther king's dream. we've lost our way. we've lost our heart for each other. i think it's more than a conversation. some of it is structural. and some of it is staying vigilant, watching out for others. >> there's a lot of people who do not see this as a problem. >> in my world, everybody saw this as open and shut. they were like, a boy went to the store and somebody killed him and that was wrong and they should be punished, and it was so clear. he was unarmed, he was doing nothing. so we're all sitting there saying okay, so let me try and understand the other side. people keep thinking this is not my kids, my community, this is happening to those folks in florida. this is not happening to those folks in florida, this is happening all over the country. and people keep thinking it's somebody else's kids. same way they couldn't imagine trayvon being their kid, they need to talk to their kids and their community about this
issue, because this is a national problem. >> one other thing i think we have to do, we have to keep the victims human. i think it is so easy to dehumanize a person to the point where they become a object. the moment they lose their humanity, it is very easy to say, they must have been wrong, they must have been out. if we can remember that this is a child who may have thought as a child, who may have behaved as a child, who may have feared the way a child might fear, who may not have run home or done the right things, even made a mistake, the way a child would do, then we can understand it could be my child and your child. >> how to you prosecutors -- >> how are trayvon martin's parents doing?
>> obviously, they are devastated by the verdict. it's heartbreaking to them, because they desperately wanted the killer of their unarmed son to be held accountable and his death not to be in vain. with that said, sybrina fulton, tracy martin are incredible people. she cries, prays, she went to church. she said we will not let this verdict define trayvon. we will define trayvon martin's legacy. >> we're going to end it on that note. i want to thank all my guests for joining us. there will be others and we hope to be there to make the issues as plain as we can. thanks for watching. have a great night. [ female announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain
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