Amid new reports about criminal charges to be filed against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, the slain teen's parents and their legal team shared their thoughts during a Washington, D.C., press conference at the National Action Network national convention.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, spoke first to outline a few goals on behalf of the family. "We are not seeking to convict anybody. We are seeking to stop them from acquitting someone without a trial," said Sharpton. "What we want is to make sure the justice system is corrected and works … Our quest is, on probable cause, the immediate arrest of Mr. Zimmerman."
Attorney Benjamin Crump said that he had received calls from concerned government officials who wanted to make sure that, after the Florida special prosecutor makes a decision, communities stay peaceful.
"We're asking everybody who really cares about justice for Trayvon Martin to follow the example of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, his mother and father, in remaining peaceful, having faith in our system and being prayerful that everything is going to work out regardless of the great length of time that it has taken," said Crump. "Nobody can be hurt more than them; nobody can be more outraged than them. If they can continue to carry themselves in a dignified manner, we all should."
Sharpton later added, however, that they do not fear violence — it's other people who keep accusing supporters of fanning potential violence. "Let me be real clear: We have had marches, demonstrations, church services and rallies," he said. "The only violence that has happened was the night George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin."
Crump responded to some of the recent developments surrounding the case. First, he applauded the decision by special prosecutor Angela Corey not to convene a grand jury in Sanford, Fla. "We did not want a grand jury in this proceeding because we were greatly concerned," he said. "When you're going to a grand jury, really what you're doing is passing the buck."
Regarding the Tuesday press conference held by Zimmerman's attorneys, in which they announced they had lost contact with their client and didn't know where he was, Crump again expressed worry. "The killer of Trayvon Martin is unaccounted for. We are concerned that he's a flight risk," he said. "We are very concerned that he will never be brought to justice for killing Trayvon Benjamin Martin. Had he been arrested on Feb. 26, 2012, we wouldn't be having to worry about this today, 44 days later."
In brief remarks, Trayvon's mother, Sybrina, described the past 44 days as a nightmare. "I have been up and down as if I were on a roller coaster," she said. "But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that justice will be served."
Tracy Martin recalled the first conversation he had with his attorney. "Attorney Crump told me not to worry about it, that they were going to arrest him," he said. "Forty-four days later, George Zimmerman is still walking free. It's 44 days later, and my son is in a mausoleum. As a father it hurts, but I promised myself that I would stand strong for my family; I would stand strong with everyone who's in support of us; and most of all, I would stand strong for Trayvon and make sure that his name lives on."
When asked what he would hope to say to his son about the American justice system, Martin was succinct. "I'm hoping that I can, on my bended knee, speak through Christ and let him know that justice was served and a job well done for my son."
Cynthia Gordy is The Root's Washington reporter.