Martin Family's Legal Team Speaks Out

"We need people to stay engaged -- especially young people," attorney says.

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BC: Mark O'Mara is simply intellectually dishonest. Everyone in America knows that black males are more likely to be arrested, even when committing no crime at all. And there is more than enough empirical research to show that blacks are given harsher sentences than their white counterparts for the same offense. Even the facts of this case reveal that racial bias persists: An innocent black child was murdered, but his killer was allowed to walk free. It's unconscionable.

Natalie Jackson: Attorney Crump is absolutely right, and I would add that though Judge Nelson did her best and was well-intentioned, she made a mistake by reseating two jurors whom the prosecution had previously stricken. I believe they felt those jurors may have held some bias.

 

The defense knew that it would be easier to get an acquittal from a pool of white women because they shared a particular viewpoint. The prism through which they see Trayvon isn't as a child -- like their children -- but rather as a black male, who's a stranger and potentially a threat. It's the same prism through which Zimmerman saw the child. After the defense put on a white female witness who had been [burglarized] by a black male, I feared this could be the result. It placed the seed of reasonable doubt in minds that, unfortunately, didn't require much convincing to disbelieve Trayvon.

Another key factor in this case is that Sanford police were essentially hostile witnesses toward the prosecution. That never happens. Normally, police and prosecutors work hand in hand, but since the officers failed miserably at the very beginning of this case, they feared being liable for negligence -- or worse -- and so had a stake in an acquittal because it would [then] seem they had made the right decision in not arresting Zimmerman.

The Root: Can you tell us how Trayvon's parents responded to the verdict? Will they bring civil charges now? And what is the likelihood of  a federal case?

BC: Obviously they're heartbroken and deeply disappointed. These are good, hardworking people who never imagined anything like this could happen to their son. But they also have incredible faith. Tracy [Martin] has told me that no matter what happens, nothing could be worse than what occurred on Feb. 26, 2012. He says the injustice of this verdict doesn't compare to the loss of his baby Tray.

What is most impressive to me, personally, is how dignified they have been throughout this difficult process -- and have refused to stop fighting. Sybrina [Fulton] called me after church yesterday and said, "Attorney Crump, I will not allow this verdict to define Trayvon. We will define Trayvon's legacy." She then asked me, "What are we going to do next?"

So that is what we're working on now: The family is considering all potential remedies through civil proceedings, and we will make a decision [about] which route is best. We are also pushing for the Justice Department to bring federal charges against Zimmerman for the violation of Trayvon Martin's civil rights. We know that new evidence could be presented, and facts support the truth that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon.

We need people who believe in this case to sign the DOJ petition, continue to organize and get involved in the Trayvon Martin Foundation and go online to trayvonmartinfoundation.org. This Aug. 24, we're joining Martin Luther King III for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and he is dedicating this journey for justice to Trayvon and all the unknown Trayvons. We're expecting half a million people to march that day. Let's make it happen!

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